Tag Archives: bulldogs

An update

My regulars will probably understand that I’m involved in a blog tour right now. I’ve been sweeping through those posts like a madman and trying to keep up with the comments. I’ve also been sharing them on this site, so if you miss one, you can link to it from here.

I garnered a couple of awesome reviews, and books are selling. As a new publication, I can always use more sales and reviews. Fingers crossed that the remaining tour posts will net some more folks next week. There aren’t many left, but they are productive locations.

I got a notice from Stumbleupon that some of my posts are being shared. Both Flipboard and Stumbleupon are kind of odd ducks. Either of them can cause a post to go crazy, but they have an odd rule to keep in mind. They don’t want you only sharing your own content. If you do, they’ll filter you back.

This filter is all run by bots of some kind, so they don’t know what the content involves, just what blog I shared it from. When I checked out the notice, the Stumbleupon action was about my blog tour posts, but only because I shared the host’s post and not my own. Kind of a cool trick. I’m in the habit of sharing other posts from my friends, so I don’t get filtered now.

If you got some action from SU, that could have been because of me this week.

Yesterday, I did some minimal yard work, and still need to work on the sprinkler system. The dogs got to chase the squirrel. Well, Otto likes to chase him, Frankie likes to chase Otto.

They’ve gotten so attuned to the squirrel that we have to be careful saying the word. We moved on to rodent, and now they know that too. I’ve taken to referring to the arboreal mammal.

Yesterday, Frankie spotted him and put her feet on the sliding glass door. Then she checked for Otto. When I got up, the squirrel was perched on the fence, and looking toward her in the house. I swear the squirrel is into it too and wanted me to let them out. End result, everyone is crazy and happy.

We even managed a cheap date night last night.

Today, I dealt with three more Lisa interviews. I really want to get back to my WIP, but by putting it off, it freed me up for my release, tour, and some of my blog duties. I’m hoping to return to my story next month.

I also wrote my next post for Story Empire and got it scheduled today. I consider it a fairly productive weekend. Tomorrow will be all about calling my parents and working on that sprinkler system.

Hope all of you are having a great weekend.

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Riding the wave

Life seems to come in waves. If you’re on a roll with a project, it seems to build it’s own momentum. Projects at the office seem to go that way too. When things go wrong, they seem to keep going wrong.

I’ve completely given up on my WIP for now. This is the pirate story, and I’m desperate to get back to it. Even the determination to set it aside makes me feel better. It’s one less thing I have to worry about.

I have company this weekend, and that comes with it’s own challenges. I elected to stay home with Dad while my wife and mother went to town. I don’t need anything from town anyway.

Dad and I talked a bunch yesterday, but today he wants to stare at the Golf Channel. I took the opportunity to work on things that don’t require deep thought.

One of those things is The Yak Guy Project. I wrote two more advance blog posts. Since I know this story so well, I don’t have to work in total silence. Putting together a unique promo post isn’t that hard.

I also sent Yak Guy to my formatter. I’ve convinced myself that summer releases suck, at least in my genres. May isn’t quite summer though, is it?

The dogs woke me up early this morning. I took advantage to write up one shtick for Lisa Burton Radio and got it sent to the author. It wasn’t two or three, but even one is forward progress.

Honestly, I never expected to get this much done, so it’s kind of a bonus.

In other news, it looks like we need a new battery for my wife’s car. That’s not a huge deal, but it’s about par for the course lately.

This is a wave, and I’ll ride it out. There will be another wave, and hopefully it has a pirate ship and a few monsters on it.

I feel good about moving Yak Guy forward. This means two releases in 2018, and that isn’t bad. I don’t feel the need to complete my current project for a 2018 release. It could happen come winter, but if it happens in 2019 that’s fine too.

On a fun note, when my daughter got a cat, I was worried about Frankie wanting to kill him. She has a different attitude about such things. There was some careful monitoring of their relationship along the way.

These days, Frankie and Jackson the cat are best buds. Good enough to eat from the same dish.

Frankie has more of an underslung jaw than Otto. She tends to flick kibble out of her bowl when she eats. Jackson likes to bat them around the floor before eating them himself.

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Mediocre Wednesday

This is my first flex day since my trip to New Orleans. I got one day off, when I returned home, then had to return to the office. This means I had high hopes for today.

There were three goals: Work on Lisa Burton interviews, add back material to a novel, work on my current novel.

I accomplished that, but it was a stretch to call it productive. I tried to do the writing in the early hours. The dogs are usually quiet, and my daughter is still in bed. I got up about 5:30 and got started.

These two usually crawl up in my oversized chair and conk out for a while. Some days they jockey for position, and today was one of those. Frankie tries to get Otto interested in anything else, so he will get down and she can steal the sweet spot.

This led to Frankie wanting outside about a hundred times, but Otto wasn’t biting. She brought toys up and stuck them in his face. Nope.

I added to the problem, because old guys have to get up and pee frequently. I still added to my WIP, but it was only around 1500 words. It feels disappointing, but my characters dealt with an attack by the assassins, a swivel gun (small cannon) blew the crap out of a bunch of people, and they left town under cover of darkness. My main character has made a sea change in how he’s going about his business.

This means, he’s decided he isn’t his father and his skills are in a different field, and that field is the sea. I’ll have to wait until next weekend to dig up some graves and launch the first ship in this tale.

My daughter got up and brought this to an end. She talked my ears off until it was time for her to go to work. I love her, but this was a loss of hours of possibility.

The next thing that happens is my wife returning from work. In the small gap in between, I tackled the other projects.

I managed one shtick for a Lisa Burton interview and sent it out.

I added a title page and copyright data to the MS of The Yak Guy Project. I also wrote some end material to the book — twice. I have no idea what happened there. I added it, and it was gone. This is a major freak out point for me, because I wonder what else happened to the MS. It’s completely edited, and ready to go. Now I’ll probably have to read it again to make sure something isn’t plunked into the center of the book that doesn’t belong there.

No rush, because I don’t have the cash for formatting right now, but it’s not what I wanted to happen.

New Orleans earned me some comp time. I may have to take a day and use it selfishly for my projects. This is a tough time to take from work, but I might wrangle a day. After May, I could probably take a week, but I want Yak Guy out before Summer.

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A ghost story, and a bad dog

My mornings are hectic. I have things to do before I head out the door. I bathe, comb my hair, etc. After getting dressed, I have to let the dogs outside, prepare their food, make the coffee, etc. Like most folks out there. In addition, I usually turn on the morning news while I putter about.

To tell this story, I have to give you some idea of the layout of my house. The kitchen is under the upstairs bedrooms. It’s divided off by a breakfast bar from the living space. The rest of the living area is under a vaulted ceiling, with a portion dedicated to a dining area, and the rest being living room. The master bedroom steps right into the space between the dining room table, and the breakfast bar attached to the kitchen. We have some tall stools that are permanently at the bar.

The area between the stools and the dining room table is about five feet wide. It’s just a walking area.

My habit is to take the dogs through this area, open the glass slider and let them out. Then I step into the living area and turn on the news before going about the rest of the stuff. The rest of the stuff is in the kitchen. This means I walk past the bar stools once more.

So I got the dog food measured out and placed. Made coffee, and stuck something by Jimmy Dean in the microwave. I also filled a baggie with some cereal cube things that I took for my lunch break. Then I walked back between the bar stools and the dining room table to let the dogs in. I returned to the kitchen to retrieve Jimmy Dean and eat. I also had to cut and feed my sourdough starter today.

What’s that? About four trips through that five foot area between the bar stools and the dining set?

There were two small bags of King Arthur flour, and my bin was empty. I added one bag to the Tupperware bin, but left the other one in the pantry. (More on this later.)

This whole time, I am looking out over the breakfast bar which abuts the kitchen sink. I used the sink multiple times. I can reach out and touch the bar stools from the sink area.

After the dogs finished eating, I picked up their bowls and headed for my easy chair. This is when I go over email and such, prior to my commute. This meant one more trip through that five foot area between the bar stools and the dining area.

All well and good, bulldogs in my lap, as per usual. Also as per usual, Frankie needed outside a second time. She’s done this since the day she arrived at our house. She needs to go after she eats for some reason.

I got up, tuned around, and headed for the sliding glass door.

One of the bar stools was away from the counter. Directly in front of my bedroom door, between its usual place and the dining set. It was also turned around backwards. I could not have walked past it without hitting it. I nearly couldn’t have come out of the bedroom without moving it. I would have had to walk past it five times without noticing.

My first thought was the dogs. They’re bulldogs, and bash and bluster their way through things… But we have a hard surface floor. It would have made noise. The dogs would have knocked the stool over before they managed to move it three feet and turn it around backwards.

So what happened? I have no idea.

***

In other news, let’s return to that second bag of flour in the pantry. Frankie has no idea what happened to it this afternoon. (Note the hard surface flooring.)

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Reasonable day, considering

Today was my flex day for the week. I had a lot to do, and feel like I accomplished everything I needed to. My daughter went to work early, and her cat cried behind her bedroom door. I had a choice to make here. Either listen to the cat yowl all day, or let him out and keep an eye on the dogs around her kitten. I told her to leave her door open so Jackson the cat could come and go. The dogs are getting close to understanding they aren’t supposed to be upstairs, so it gives him kind of a base.

All good. Maybe the dogs will hang out with him and leave me a bit of peace.

Yeah, didn’t quite work that way. All three of them decided to share my chair and workspace. Otto is the one with his back to the camera. Oh, and cats like to type – who knew? I suppose I should be impressed, I can’t even get the dogs to read my books. This cat wants to write one.

Still, I got some things done that didn’t have a lot to do with my keyboard. I started the process of waking Tituba the sourdough starter up. I also broke in the new oven. (Don’t get excited, I toasted a bagel under the broiler.)

I also paid the bills after I got a few cat wranglers home from work. This is one project I didn’t get finished during my trip to Nevada. Now it’s done.

On the writing front, I got the shtick out for a Lisa Burton Radio interview. We’re still working on it, but it feels productive. If you’re interested, Lisa needs guests. I’ll have time to work on them over the weekend if you catch me this week.

I also managed to add words to my current project. There weren’t a lot of words, but the characters hid some bodies, and a new character started making a shrunken head. Oh, and they recovered some old equipment that was hidden away, and it includes a couple of small black powder mortars. We’ll be blowing things up in no time.

I still have to get one more central character into the story, and she’s coming soon. I just have to figure out how they’re going to come across her.

Back to the office tomorrow, but I feel like it was a pretty good day.

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A small miracle

Here is some great news on the Frankie front. Weeks ago, a piece of a toy went unaccounted for. She was chewing on it when I spotted the rubber arm of this squeaky toy missing. My wife and I looked everywhere for the missing piece, and decided she had to have swallowed it.

She vomited in the middle of the night about two weeks later, and aspirated some of it. Bulldogs are notorious for breathing issues, and this is about par for the course. She wound up with pneumonia from this and was really sick for a day or two before the meds kicked in. I mean middle of the night emergency vet sick.

Two rounds of X-rays, plus an ultrasound later, and there was no sign of this missing chunk of rubber. We knew rubber wasn’t likely to appear on an X-ray or an ultrasound, but the vet said other things like blockages and stomach lesions would show up. Nothing did.

Earlier this week, a big chunk of pink rubber appeared in our back yard. The culprit was Otto, and it passed through. I was not convinced, because the chunk wasn’t big enough.

Otto is huge, 65 pounds. Frankie is pretty tiny. She weighs in at 35 pounds, but bulldogs are so dense that it equates to about the size of a Scottie. (She was the runt of her litter.)

Last night I woke up to the sound of a dog horking on the floor again. I jumped right up, because she had that emergency trip recently. This time, I found more than froth to clean up.

The squeaky toy was some kind of monster, with rubber arms that ended in crab claws. That’s my key ring for perspective. I can’t believe she swallowed the damned thing in the first place, and it’s a miracle that it ever came back up. It would have had to line up perfectly just to fit back in her throat. If it had started out the other end, it could have killed her.

Surgery to remove a swallowed item starts at about $1500, but bulldogs need special intubation to make sure they keep breathing. We may have dodged that bullet.

Oddly enough, she had no other symptoms. I’m sure the aspiration pneumonia is related, but she’s been eating like a little horse, playing hard, and going potty regularly.

Now all we have to do is worry about the next damned thing. She and Otto chewed up the backing underneath one of our rugs yesterday. Underneath.

Our daughter swears she picked up handfuls of the stuff, and doesn’t think they ate any of it. This is all Frankie’s doing, no doubt. She’s psycho, but Otto will play her games if they look fun. I swear I need to start tranquilizing them when they’re out of my sight.

But we love you, Dad.

Note: I wrote this about 2:00 this morning, because up is up at that time. I scheduled it for tonight so Joan got to be the spotlight post of the day. If you missed Lisa’s show, check it out by rolling down the page to the previous post.

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Writing hazards

I don’t play golf, but I know they have hazards on the course. There are sand traps and water hazards that can mess with your game. My writing days are full of hazards too.

The main one is my daughter. She likes to talk — a lot. She talks for hours about her job to the point where I feel like I was there with her on her shift. Today, she has a new topic though. Enter Jackson.

We’ve never owned a cat. In her entire life there has never been a cat. We’re dog people. They aren’t foreign to me, my mom had cats at various times. It’s something new to my daughter, and she’s really excited about it. I refuse to stop her chatter, and try to be a good dad. Things change and young adults have been known to move halfway across the country on short notice. We spent a lot of time letting the animals get used to each other.

My big concern is dogs and cats together. They get supervised time together and are doing really well with the situation. Otto wants to sniff him, but that’s about where his interest ends. Frankie is the one to watch. Jackson likes to sneak up on her and bonk her on the head.

I’m still being diligent, because Kipling taught me The Female of the Species is more Deadly than the Male. This certainly seems to hold true with my dogs. Otto is a big hugger and lover of all things. Frankie is psycho and I don’t completely trust her around Jackson.

After my daughter goes to work, and Jackson goes to her room, I get a chance to write new words. There is still the bulldog hazard, but I’ve gotten pretty good at writing around it.

This one is Frankie, and I can get an arm around her and still type. I can’t quite reach around Otto in the same fashion.

Still, all progress is good. I wound up with around 2500 new words on the day. Skulls were bashed, shackles were fitted, and the big abduction happened. Aside from this, an ugly fish bit one of the supporting characters. My next move will be to define the stakes for the characters, imprison the love interest, and force the men into a task they don’t want and are ill equipped for.

Unfortunately, my own servitude is calling. Tomorrow begins the work week for me, so it will be Saturday at minimum before I can write again.

In other news, I got three more nice reviews for The Hat over the weekend. People seem to really be enjoying it, and that’s like rocket fuel to my writer brain. I haven’t sold a copy in days, but there is lag time between purchases and reviews. Reviews can lead to sales, so I hope it keeps up a bit of momentum.

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