Tag Archives: Coffee

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 .99ยข 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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Some Days are Diamonds

I set an alarm this morning. I could have slept in, but I really wanted to write. Sometimes my daughter gets up and wants to talk, and that’s great. I wanted some insurance that several hours were at my disposal for writing. Turns out she had to get up and go to work. Even more writing time.

It was raining hard when I let the old pit bull outside. Maybe we’ll finally get some relief from the inversion we’ve been living under for weeks. I used radar to make sure I was headed for the writing cabin, and not crashing into Mt. Doom along the route.

I sent a signal to turn on the runway lights. The second they came on, Lisa* came over the speakers. “What are you doing here so early?”

“Time to beat this manuscript into submission,” I said on final approach.

“OhmygoshI’mnotready. Happy landings, gotta go.”

I parked the gyrocopter and headed for my office. The coffee pot was still gurgling, so I headed for the alternate writing room. I left some carrot tops and a can of dog food on the kitchen counter, per Lisa’s request.

I threw the archaic old switch and looked at the creepy room Lisa designed. Doubt** still perched on a huge hippo tusk along the wall. “No time to waste,” I told him, and hung my hat on the stone gargoyle’s head, and ducked as the Will ‘O the Wisp passed overhead. I slipped into my custom lab coat and sat down.

I reread my last two paragraphs and started writing. Lisa came in behind me and I turned to say hi. She wore a low cut Morticia Addams dress that was skin tight, and ever so slightly see through. Her strawberry blonde hair went clear past her ribcage. She sat a small iron cauldron beside the pentagram on the floor. Doubt flew down and started eating from it.

“How did your hair get so long?” I asked.

“Hair extensions,” she said. “Do you like them?”

“Yeah. They look awesome.”

She sat a black cup of something beside me. It produced a white bubbling fog that tricked off onto the floor.

“So, um, what’s this?”

“It’s coffee. I ordered it from Planet Anur. It’s a special strain that produces the creepy mist. Try it.”

I sniffed and it smelled good. “This isn’t one of those that passes through some kind of cat or something first, is it?” It tasted wonderful, I took a second sip.

“No,” she flipped a wrist at me. “They aren’t cats, more like really big weasels.”

I cringed, but it was good coffee. I pointed to the collaboration of glass retorts. “Can you make that smell like something besides cotton candy? It’s starting to get to me.”

She turned the valve off and asked, “What would you prefer?”

“Something more manly, like Hoppe’s Number 9.”

“I’ll check the instructions and see what I can come up with. In the mean time, I hung the bubbling coffee cauldron in your fireplace off to the side. Just tip it when you want more.” She turned toward the stairs and I admit to watching her walk away.

I wrote with a passion. Poor Patty never got more than a few seconds rest. Then there was another interruption. Lorelei*** showed up to check out Lisa’s decorating. She played along in her own lab coat and crazy steampunk goggles. Her skirt was so short the lab coat was longer. She looked like the assistant Frankenstein wished he had.

“Lisa did a wonderful job,” she said. “I just wanted to check it out, and bring you a gift.” She handed me a small box covered in black wrapping paper.

Lorelei’s gifts are questionable sometimes. That’s how I wound up with Doubt. I opened the package and it was a desktop spindle. For you kids out there, it’s a spike to hold papers. It had a bronze base with three clawed feet. I said, “Don’t fold, spindle, or mutilate huh?”

She grabbed a cup of the creepy coffee, and sat on the new couch.

“Do you know what I could do with this?” I asked.

“Hush now, you’re breaking the rules again,” she said.

“Alright, inspiration only. I get it. I can do whatever I want with it.”

We finished our coffee and she left me to it. Patty went to a funeral, had a couple encounters with her stalker, committed a felony upon public property, forged her mother’s name, and wound up with a spindle on her desk. I wanted to make an evil laugh, but didn’t want Lisa to hear it.

I kept writing, Patty twisted her ankle, got a bad sliver, then went to her first dance. I know, I’m such a softy.

Just before the beer horns went off, Lisa checked on me again. “Nice word count, 30,656. That’s 6,610 words today. The new decor agrees with you.”

“Most of it comes from using a good outline, but yeah. I’m sure it means lots of editing too. It’ll need all the sensory stuff I always leave out first pass, like weather, smells, and stuff. But, yeah, the new work space is awesome, thank you.”

She held her hand to her mouth and teared up. Whoever heard of an emotional robot, jeez.

I went through beer time for the sake of the enchanted beer horns, got my alcohol removal injection and headed back to the real world.

* Lisa is from a novel I’m going to self publish this year. She works as my assistant, and is a robot.
** Doubt is from Mt. Olympus and appears to be a raven. He was a gift from Lorelei.
*** Lorelei is my Muse.

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