Tag Archives: bulldogs

A little update

We cancelled our weekend camping trip, so we’re going to be sticking around the house this weekend. When I left my office, it was 100 degrees outside. The low country was pretty much that temperature. When I climbed up to the bench, it hit 106.

Bulldogs tip over and die at those temperatures. Our weekend would have been spent with wet towels, possibly dunking dogs in the lake, etc. That doesn’t sound like much of a camp out to me.

My plan is to write as much as possible. We might get a shot at date night since payday is in about five hours.

In other news, I created a BookBub account. People who are smarter than me said it’s the place to be, so now I am. I’m still figuring it all out, and it seems like a kinder gentler version of Goodreads.

I’m telling you this so you can all rush over there and check it out. I’ll need BookBub friends, and the extremely generous ones can post your reviews there too. Okay enough pimping my new location. Here is my BookBub Link. I’m open to any tips you guys have about finding my way around there.

New topic. Rosie’s Book Review Team has been extremely kind to me over the years. These wonderful ladies take a chance on my books and post honest reviews. I’m thrilled that those reviews have all been favorable.

If you’re an author, you need to know about this group. What better way to check out their site than to check out the five-star review Robbie Cheadle gave to The Yak Guy Project. I’ll be monitoring the comments and hope to see you there. Feel free to share the post on your various social media accounts.

Here is the link” Rosie’s Book Review Team.

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Fair enough, I’ll take it

The dogs drove me nuts last night. I pulled some light clothes on and went to sleep on the couch. Something about scratchy Frankie paws on my neck, and about 60 pounds of Otto on my leg wasn’t working for me.

Old What’s Her Face got me up when she went to work at 3:00 AM. She suggested I try again, since she wouldn’t be in the bed at the same time. I was in a pouty mood and intended to just get up and get started, but I gave it the old college try.

I still had to nudge Otto off of me, but managed to sleep until 6:00.

I spent the first two hours puttering on things. This is my normal process, but I dragged my feet, because I call my parents at 8:00.

After the phone call, I decided to give it a try. I wound up making some decent progress. It feels like 1500 to 1800 words. Not bad at all for a Sunday. This was a transition phase, and those are slower to write.

My pirates sailed to the uncharted island, and are now prepared to go ashore. I put some effort into approaching the island through a thick fog, and the dangers that might present. There was a shipwreck, some big lizards that we’ve seen before, and something I called a black shark from out of the blue.

I expect this island to take up some time in the story. There are several things that have to happen. I’m debating making it a place that is in constant fog, and letting my pirates see bits and pieces of it. To my mind, it keeps it kind of mysterious, and will let readers know this is a big world.

There are people here, and there will be monsters. I stopped when I did so I could daydream about some of it with more specificity than before.

For those who are keeping score, I’m at 81,600 words. I’d like to hit 100K, and it feels like I can. That’s long for me, but this is an epic fantasy. It may not be formal fantasy, it’s a kind of flintlock fantasy, but fantasy just the same.

I picked yet another basket of peaches this afternoon. Peach waffles tomorrow morning for sure.

I’m off tomorrow, but so is my wife. This usually isn’t the sign for a good writing day, but we’re going to have a date lunch out of the deal. We ought to be able to get in to Old Chicago and have pizza without the long lines and waits.

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Not a writing day

Otto let me sleep in until 6:00. It felt good after a week at 4:00. Today is my flex day, but Old What’s Her Face is off today too. I fed the dogs and they went back to bed with my wife.

She likes to sleep in, so I took my chance, it just wasn’t my day for it. I weaved through social media, then backed up a chapter and made a few adjustments so I could forge ahead.

That’s when my wife and the dogs woke up for real. I know when to admit defeat, and I’ll have the house to myself tomorrow.

I picked these a few moments ago.

There are probably another hundred basket-fulls still on the tree. I may take a basket to the office if I remember to pick them Sunday night. My wife wants to take some to the hospital too.

The birds are starting to get to some of them, but the tree produces enough for everyone. I just glean through mine to make sure they haven’t been sampled.

These went in the refrigerator to chill for a while. Then I’m going to eat them as presented. I might dig out some salsa or a daiquiri recipe. Maybe I’ll make a cobbler, but I’m leaning more toward some waffles covered with peaches instead.

It wasn’t much of a writing day, but my chances were low anyway. Besides, the battle for the rope toy is going on under my chair.

It’s been a loooong work week for me. It might not be a bad thing to kick back for a day and eat peaches.

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Glamping with bulldogs

I complained about our camping trip this week. I like to know where we’re going, and what we might be going for. It doesn’t take much to make me happy, but with no idea, it bothers me.

To make matters worse, it’s +/- the Fourth of July. My wife’s big plan was to go somewhere and camp out. Campsites are reserved months ahead of time around here, but they all offer a few that are first come first served. That was my only solace.

I asked for two weeks where we were going, and she never was able to spit out a location. She narrowed it down to about ten general areas, which is no answer at all.

On the Fourth, I said we were going somewhere around McCall. I chose this, because there is a sewer dump available in the area. (Two actually) It wasn’t a great reason, but at least it was no longer random driving.

There was a ton of traffic heading back to Boise, and most of them were towing campers. I decided we should at least look at Ponderosa State Park. Our chances were slim of getting a site, but it wasn’t far out of our way to check.

There were zero sites at Ponderosa, so I decided to head down Warren Wagon Road. There are lesser Forest Service sites all over the area, and if nothing else we could bushwhack another site.

Ultimately we wound up in a nice Forest Service campground alongside Upper Payette Lake. This was my office for two days.

When we got there it was over a hundred degrees. Bulldogs and heat do not get along. I left them in the truck with the AC running while I set up the generators and got the camper AC running.

It took hours to drop the inside from ninety degrees to eighty degrees. The pups had to wear their wet bandanas and drink lots of water.

Friday was much better. We got a head start on the heat, and it only got up to the mid eighties. The dogs got to play outside, and even took a walk. Otto loves meeting people and there were plenty to visit with around the campground.

Frankie is a bit more reserved, and even barks at people who walk by. She appreciated the cool green grass on her tummy though.

We got out of town with no movies, and there was no cellular service either. About all there was to do was read, and I did plenty of that. My wife brought her satellite radio and I listened to about half of a baseball game on Friday night. My team lost. I didn’t listen last night and they won. My curse is intact.

Some of you may not know how I was raised. We camped all the time. As teenagers, we would throw sleeping bags on the ground and sleep beside the fire with nothing but coyotes and stars to keep us company.

When we were a young couple, we had an army tent with cots for all the kids and a wood stove inside.

As one gets older, a camper has a lot more appeal. I never wanted all the flashy stuff that comes with a modern camper, but there really is no choice. As we’ve gotten used to it, I kind of look forward to movie nights out camping. I missed that this time.

Friday we took a drive to check out other camping areas. We drove all the way to Bergdorf Hot Springs, but didn’t stop to swim. It was packed and people were everywhere.

On the way home, our drive devolved into watching for a place that had a decent cell signal. This was so we could do our daily chores on some stupid video games we play.

How did it come to this? Camping has become movie time, satellite radio, and withdrawals from the internet.

Oh, and we ate well. The first night was just brats and some leftovers from home. Last night was steak and marinated shrimp on the barbie. I also downed two really nice bottles of stout.

I read about half of a great book, and will probably finish it while I’m still on vacation. I also added several thousand words to my new story. Old What’s Her Face and the bulldogs like to sleep in, and several hours each morning were dedicated to writing time. There are worse places to kick back and write.

My pirates got involved in a bit of larceny, pulled off a huge con, and had to fight their way out of port. They’re on the open seas now and headed for a neutral country. I expect with four more vacation days to make some serious progress.

Here is the obligatory scenery picture. Idaho is a beautiful state, and everywhere you turn is something worth seeing.

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Not exactly truffle dogs.

We just got back from camping. We spent two glorious days in the wilderness without wifi or cellular service. All of the campsites were full, including a couple bushwhacker style ones we enjoy. This time we wound up far back in the woods. We only saw one other vehicle pass by in two days.

The dogs actually got to play off leash. They do this every day in the back yard, but around other campers I always control them. They really enjoyed the forest, and never tried to roam out of sight.

We hoped to find morels. This is the weekend we usually go, but I told my wife we were going to be too late this year. The seasons seem like they’re three weeks ahead of other years.

We had a huge western thunderstorm friday night. I have to admit I love these. Sitting in the camper during a deluge, or under the awning just clicks with me. It knocked down the pollens too, and I appreciate that.

Storms usually bring on fungus blooms, and this one did. Just not the morels. I found this one though. It’s very picturesque, but I’m pretty sure it’s one of the deadlier Amanita species.

We went to my wife’s favorite spot to search for morels. Unfortunately, there were none to be found. We’ve never been skunked here before. Frankie was more interested in finding the right stick to chew up. She doesn’t like them on the ground, but if they protrude from a log or a tree it makes her day.

Otto was just happy to follow dad around and look at whatever dad found.

This was the view about a mile from camp.

It looks like there should be buffalo out there, but not in Idaho. Unless it’s the border of Yellowstone.

We grilled up three lobsters Saturday night and ate like kings. They weren’t big ones, and we split the odd one between us.

Mosquitos were out in force, and we’re going to have to replenish our Deet supply before we go out again.

I managed a little writing time. Words flew from my fingers like never before.

The crew managed to escape the giant jellyfish, which the root monsters named Big Boogah. (Yes, Boogah means just what you might think it means.) They escaped in dramatic and adventurous fashion too. There were many who played a role, including some quick and dangerous thinking, and one feat of strength that impressed a few crew mates.

My pirates managed a big party to celebrate escaping the jellyfish, and the tropical storm. They’re headed for calm seas now, but they aren’t going to find them all that calm.

They uncovered a thief aboard the ship, held a mini Courts Marshal, and dealt with the perpetrator. Chamberpots were redistributed, and I must remember to use the term thundermug. This sounds like an appropriate word for the root monsters to use.

There is something going on with this story that I can’t quite put my finger on. Some stories use world building to gain a long popularity. I’m talking Star Wars, Star Trek, Lord of the Rings, and the Harry Potter stuff. I feel like I’m getting close to that ground here.

My crew has many broken characters. I’m only giving glimpses into their pasts, but it feels like enough to entice readers to want more. Readers will get a peek at a vast world that can let their imaginations roam after they’ve read the story.

I’ve been accused of white room, or white page syndrome before. My personal goal behind the scenes is to flesh out more of the setting, and I think it’s working.

On the other hand, I’m having a hard time finding a midpoint for this one. This is usually where the bottom falls out, the big plan is a failure, and they have to regroup somehow. Don’t get me wrong, some of this is planned out, but it won’t happen until closer to the end of the story. (I’m going with it for now.)

My next event will involve another sea battle, but some unusual evidence will turn up. I’m going to have to do a bit of research into brass cannons, and how big they got using brass. Obviously, steel is stronger, but brass was pretty popular.

Then I’m going to take them to Serang’s country to pull off a bit of a con game against their enemies. This will let me build more of her sad story into the tale, but only bits and pieces enough to carry the story. Of course a bit of color and pageantry should also be in the mix.

I’m off tomorrow. No idea whether it will be a writing day or not. I kind of hope it is.

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The heavens parted today

Some days even I get lucky. I made it a point to sleep in a bit and get a slow start. I wanted to surf through social media while having my first cup of coffee.

It actually felt good, but the dogs wanted me to get on with it. They took up their positions to remind me.

There is Frankie, who thinks she’s part monkey by climbing behind me.

Here is Otto, who has claimed one arm of my chair.

Today the words just wouldn’t stop. I didn’t want to stop when I did. Old What’s Her Face called to say she’d gotten off work, or I’d still be at it.

At that time, I paused to work on Lisa Burton Radio interviews and schedule another announcement for a friend. Lots of new books coming out right now.

As far as my story goes, I concluded the romantic interlude. It made for a fun tropical vacation. A message in a bottle got dropped into the ocean, some skinny dipping occurred. A creature similar to an anteater appeared on the beach, only he’s a snaileater. Glow in the dark tiny bats made an appearance similar to fireflies.

When the kids got back to town, the captured ship had been completely stripped, painted, renamed (Lanternfish) and is getting ready to set sail. I even amazed myself at the way I stitched some things together.

I built that bit of doubt I mentioned the other night, then quelled it with a small private action and a bit of dialog. This served to strengthen the bonds of friendship amongst the main characters.

A couple of the main characters got new outfits, and one purchased a bird called an anvil bird. He’s like a combo of parrot, toucan, and hornbill. Sean Harrington may have to paint him one day down the road.

The woman who bought the bird revealed a very personal issue, and dealt with the matter by purchasing the bird. Too spoilerish for her character arc to go into more detail.

I even introduced a new crew member. Since this is an alternate world, using words like Asian, Chinese, or even the outdated Oriental won’t quite work. I gave her Eastern features and left it at that. I’ll probably have to go back and work that out later.

Her name is Serang. She’s tall, thin, beautiful, and deadly. She carries a single bladed pole weapon. Another creation called a bay frog got speared. (Frogs don’t live in salt water in reality, plus this one is big.)

I have some cool plans for Serang.

A bigger ship requires a bigger crew, but I can’t name them all. I need enough to make it feel like a whole crew, but limit dialog and actions to those with names.

Oddly enough, I did it all without root monsters, the moving reef, or any of the other sub stories.

Tomorrow, I really want to dive into it again, but it’s also the day I call my parents. I’ll sacrifice a few hours there any time.

Hope all of you are enjoying your weekends. Probably wrap up the day with Baseball, salted caramel stout, and Papa Murphy.

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Odd day to update

I had to change my work week around. This led to me getting Tuesday as my flex day. I kind of expected to get a lot done, but it never felt quite right. Sometimes you just have a feeling.

Otto tried to get me started early, but I got him to go back to sleep. I didn’t get up until 7:00.

This is still okay, but the dogs were well rested and crazy for a few hours. Think of a moving battle that rolls from room to room and across the floor. They’re just playing, but bulldog style has to be witnessed to be appreciated. Imagine two hippos with mouths wide open. They growl and rush at each other before a lengthy pushing match ensues.

I wound up reading through the last two chapters of Lanternfish and making some edits. I discovered an odd bit about paying off the crew when they got to the pirate stronghold. It’s all fixed now, but it took some thought and experimentation.

I also dreamed up a few more scenes to bring into the story somehow. Then I drifted off into research.

This time it’s about jellyfish. How they work, which parts do what; that kind of thing. It’s probably going to lead to a jellyfish that’s several miles wide, and big enough to get a ship stuck for days. It’s also big enough to ensnare an entire pod of whales. It’s a work in progress, so we’ll see how that comes out after a bit of improvement.

I’m also working on bits about the root monsters vs seagulls, and vs the ship’s cook. May, or may not, include them.

My daughter was home today, so we spent most of the day talking. For some reason I can daydream and say, “Uh huh,” at the same time. (I think it’s a Dad thing.) Her last day at the Boise job is tomorrow, she starts in Sun Valley again Sunday.

The cat will be moving with her. He was pretty funny today too. He attacked the dogs and ran upstairs. He’s quite the little antagonist. He likes to hide between the throw pillows while Frankie tries to draw him like a badger.

I can’t complain about today’s outcome. It will be the last big visit with my daughter for a while, and it was nice. My story is between acts, and at a transition phase. It’ll keep.

Things might be quiet on my front for the next few days, but Lisa Burton Radio is all scheduled and ready to go. I will respond to comments and such as time allows, but will be with colleagues in McCall and my time is not my own.

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