Tag Archives: company

Sunday update

My parents were here this weekend, and I was about ready for a small writing break. It’s in my nature to lament every lost day, but I’ve hit it pretty hard this year. We tried a new franchise restaurant called the Longhorn, and I have a hunch it will go on our regular rotation.

Aside from visits and dinner out, I didn’t get much done. I dedicated a small amount of time to critiques I received back on HMS Lanternfish. I messed up a lot of things here, but getting one of my own characters misnamed is a new one on me. Truthfully, she is a peripheral character, and … I have no idea. Thank God for sharper eyes than my own.

I’m all set up to write tomorrow, because it’s my flex day. This isn’t going to work out well, because I have to drive to the bank and make a deposit. This might sound like general whining, but there isn’t a bank in my small town. I need to get this done, so I can pay my formatter. After that, I’ll dedicate some time to sending out the manuscript and all the graphics that go in Viral Blues.

I have to keep moving things forward to hit my release schedule. Things like HMS Lanternfish aren’t even on the release radar yet. Once Viral Blues is in hand, then I’ll focus on Serang. I’ll have to get a bunch of blog tour posts ready, too.

Tonight, I may turn my attention to my next Story Empire post. Or, I could get distracted by a cowboy or pirate movie, or Jurassic Park, or aliens of some kind, or Hobbits. I’m not picky, and that’s part of the problem.

Tomorrow is a crap shoot. I may work on my story, or I could dedicate time to the peripheral projects. Depends upon how the day shakes out.


Filed under Uncategorized, Writing

Introvert Hell

Take a perfectly adult household. Invite everyone for Thanksgiving. Let the fun begin.

My brother-in-law and sister-in-law are here. They brought their two small dogs with them. Otto and Frankie want to play. The little dogs don’t. Honestly, Otto takes a crap that’s bigger than these dogs are every morning. I don’t want him to break them.

My son came over, and brought our grandson at about 9:00. He’s making the turkey on his fancy-schmancy smoker. It takes some watching, so he has to stay. Old What’s Her Face gave our grandson a gaming console that apparently has to be turned up to full volume.

Add in the fact that my brother-in-law insists on watching 12 hours of football. What I mean by that is the TV must be on, but nobody is even watching it. In fact, he isn’t even in the room right now. Add football to the gaming console as far as noise goes. Note: My team doesn’t play today.

But wait, there’s more. My daughter is here and brought Jackson, the cat. I’d kind of like to see Jackson, he grew up here before he moved to Sun Valley. However, he’s been running for his life because the tiny dogs want to get him. This means Otto and Frankie have to chase the little dogs. Put all of that on my hard-surface floors, and it creates quite a din.

There is also the nearly constant calling out of dog names. Mostly the little dogs, but imagine a harsh voice saying the same word over and over and over and over and over and…

My daughter-in-law just arrived with the rest of the grandkids. Oh, by the way, they brought their dog with them. He is an Airedale mix of some kind. I’ll be shocked if we don’t wind up with at least one dead pet by the end of the night. Also the tiny dogs like to bark at the new arrival.

My daughter’s friend is also showing up, but I don’t think she’s bringing pets. Same thing for my son’s mother-in-law. They really don’t play into this story.

Imagine a group of people surrounding me, and they’re all honking airhorns at me. Add in some arguing and barking, along with a video game soundtrack at full volume, and you get a fair idea of how I feel.

I’m actually writing this before dinner, and while they are all here. It gives me some focus and a bit of a breather.

It may not sound like it, but I love these people. Hell, I even like their pets. I had some great one-on-one conversations with a few of them before the mob showed up. As an introvert, it is about all I can handle, but I’m being a trooper.

I think I’d like to have Thanksgiving somewhere else next year. I can handle this stuff for hours, but eventually I can go home.

Let the celebration begin, and by that I mean drinking.

Oh, and not for nothing, I went to bed about 11:30 last night. I had to raise dough and make my rolls. The dogs started barking at house guests at 6:00 AM. Kind of a sleep deprived state to add to the mix.

Bonus, I gave my entire department tomorrow off. That means I have to work tomorrow. It’s not my first Thanksgiving/Black Friday.

Update. Two beers later and things are looking better. This stuff is 9% alcohol by volume, so that’s a bonus. New Belgium Oakspire, Bourbon Barrel Aged ale using Knob Creek barrels.


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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.


Filed under Writing

Checking in

By now, my regulars are probably aware that I’m in the midst of a blog tour. For more details, see other posts on this site recently. The Hat is doing well, and the early reviews are all wonderful. There is one review that won’t seem to go through, but the reviewer told me about it and let me read it. I wish it would go through, but that’s likely an Amazon issue.

I’ve been reblogging everything I can find, because it gives a little bit of support to those wonderful folks who support me. You might be asking if it even matters to the bigger bloggers. Does Chris the Storyreading Ape need another follower? You bet he does, and if I can find one for him it makes my day. This goes for everyone, no matter how big or small they are today.

I have a house full of company right now, so I’ve been doing little more than bouncing from site to site and keeping up with comments. I’ve also been scrolling through the Reader to see if something shows up that was unexpected.

My family will leave tomorrow, then I can focus on Lisa Burton Radio posts and some tours I agreed to host for others. I’ll probably be pretty busy with it tomorrow.

The only other thing I’ve managed, other than visiting family, is Pinterest. I never thought I’d be a Pinterest guy, but I’m such a visual person it really works for me. I started a couple of new boards. One is all about cast iron ranges. They used to be more common, but they are kind of rare these days. Many of them are beautiful, so I started a board. One day, if I win the lottery, I’ll build a new house and find a way to put one in as a kind of wood stove, one that can also cook my sourdough bread.

The other one is more interesting on a mental assessment level. I called it The One I May Never Write. This is stuff for a book that might be too controversial to ever write today. It involves deepest Africa in the early 1900s. Because a bit of hunting would be required for that era, it probably wouldn’t go over well with the 2018 mindset. It would not be realistic for a young man of that era to not want to chase something big and dangerous. This is different than harvesting food, or taking on a man eater. Kind of an odd thing about fiction; kill a human and it’s no big deal, kill an animal and people go crazy. As one of my stories, it would include a bit of black magic too. Anyway, here is a link to The One I May Never Write.

The deeper topic is, why did I start this board in the first place? Am I subconsciously preparing to actually write it one day? Am I seeking someone to twist my arm? Why did I write about it here? I really don’t know. Maybe I just like the pretty pictures.


Filed under Uncategorized, Writing

I’ve been kind of quiet around here

All my company went home Saturday. I always like to have them come, but I like them to leave too. This let us have a decent date night last night.

We went to a small, upscale Italian place downtown. The food was wonderful, and the budino dessert is one of our favorites. It was windy and cold, so we didn't take time to walk around much. Boise downtown is kind of a nice place, but not in that icy wind.

My wife has been glued to The Hallmark Channel for the last two days. Makes it really hard to read and write. I surfed Facebook and changed out my pinned tweet. There were a few emails to exchange here and there. I read a few blogs.

She bought tickets to a kids movie and took the grandkids this afternoon. With a few quiet hours, I decided to write a bit. It came out at around 2000 words on The Yak Guy Project, not awesome, but better than nothing. This time there was blood involved.

I started reading a book, but since I made good progress on it, writing seemed like the way to go tonight. I'm off tomorrow, so there is more quality time in my future. I need to do a bit of research before tomorrow, and will use the next hour to get it done. Then it's time for more Evil Dead, followed by The Walking Dead.

Sorry I didn't post more, but a bunch of company doesn't lead to interesting posts. Hope all of you had good weekends, and those who write got more done than I did.


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Errands, guests, then goofing off

I managed to read most of a book I've been wanting to finish. We had company again this weekend, so all my efforts were in tiny chunks.

Today mostly involved some errands I needed to run. Then my father-in-law decided to drop in for a few hours. He always shows up unannounced, and is on his way back to Reno. He never stays more than a couple of hours. We visited with him, and I spent the remaining time building a page for Story Empire. Some of us are really good at this kind of thing, but I have to experiment my way through. We'll probably launch those pages in early October. They involve a scavenger hunt, and there are prizes. Watch this space and I'll keep you updated.

My oldest son is here between job sites. He never knows when he's going to get called out again, but he's been in Wyoming most of the Summer. Tomorrow morning, he and I are going grouse hunting.

Most of you may not understand this, but it isn't about the grouse. They make wonderful table fare, but getting a brace for supper is pretty low on the list. It's all about time together, and getting some fresh air before Winter closes the forest for the year. We'll get to talk and hang out and that's the important part. If I bring home a bag of blackberries or raspberries I'll be just as happy. My favorite wild apple tree is up there too, so maybe I'll eat an apple. (After checking the area for bears.)

Tomorrow afternoon we're getting more company. My sister-in-law is staying for a week.

Writing? What's that? This weekend is a total bust for writing progress. My usual method of operation is to set an alarm for early morning and hit it hard tomorrow. This time, I'm playing hooky and hanging out with my son. I actually need this more than I need words on paper.

The next two weeks are going to be strange. I'll have company here, then I have to go to Coeur d'Alene for a week with my work. Somehow, I'll have to share two guest spots I'm making, a Lisa Burton Radio spot here, and the first Macabre Macaroni story in October. Thank God for the scheduler in WordPress.


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Busy house today

I really wanted to get some things done today. I expected the puppy to be a distraction, but everything else seemed stacked against me today.

My daughter had a friend over for a few hours. I find it difficult to concentrate when distractions are going on all around me. I managed to work up two of three critiques based upon the premise that the puppy needed outside. I took my iPad to the yard furniture and let him play. He excels at playing.

That's everything I accomplished today. The friend wanted to bring her son and her brother over to see the puppy. Sounded like it would be around 1:00. Maybe I could salvage some reading time, or even a paragraph on a short story I'm working on. It turned out like waiting for the Sears guy to show up.

Most of you know the drill. You wait, and can't start anything because they'll show up at any minute. Part of this is my nature. Maybe it's a character flaw, but I get worked up about someone showing up and can't accomplish a damned thing. They wound up coming over at around 5:00 and shot my day to hell.

This isn't one of those weeks where my rotating day off tags onto the weekend. I'm not off again until Wednesday, and I have things to do that day. At best, I may score an hour of reading time on Wednesday.

I don't mind slowing things down in the Summer, but I hate it when they come to a complete stop. I'm not one of those thousand-words-per-day authors. I get writing time and try to take maximum advantage of that time. When the time is never available it bothers me. I'm pretty productive on average, but I need my turn on occasion.

My wife is talking about our first camp out next weekend, and that's fine by me. Those are the kind of things I'm supposed to delay writing for. Besides, I can take my iPad and still read and write. I just won't have access to online features.

I generally post on Mondays too, but may skip tomorrow. My critique group usually meets until late, and by then my mind is going at warp speed. It makes it hard to blog when I'm thinking about plot holes and grammar issues.

At least the camper is ready to go now, so I accomplished that much. I hope all of you had a great weekend.


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Ah, Flex Day…

I enjoyed visiting with my parents this weekend. I always have to choose to a degree, and spent most of my time with Dad this go round. We still all went to supper, and we all had breakfast together on Sunday.

My wife and I had some shopping to do on Sunday after everyone left. I'll tell you more about that in a future post, but it's all good.

Today became my time to do something on the writing front. Finishing up the short story I'd worked on for so long opened up the flood gates.

Lorelei, the Muse sent me some cool imagery so I wrote it all down. I don't have a story to go with it, but that's exactly why I keep notes. It's like some people wake from dreams and write down thoughts so they don't forget. It's all about roots and cocoons, and stuff. It should have a use somewhere, someday.

I didn't do any review for my novel in progress, so I skipped writing it. While making the story notes, I reviewed my short fiction list. I managed to write two of them today. I'll call them micro-fiction, but one of them exceeds 1500 words. I could probably get away with posting it on a blog, so I'll tag it as micro-fiction.

I intended for one of the stories to be a fantasy, but kind of missed the requirements. It's something else, even though it has the medieval setting. I'm not going to mourn the fantasy idea, I like the way the story came out.

The other one is science fiction, and I really like it. As a micro, it may even deserve a follow up story. Can I get away with using the character again in the same publication? Maybe. Place one early, and another one toward the end?

Right now, I have enough shorts and micros to publish another Experimental Notebook. I'm a little disappointed that fantasy didn't make this round. I love fantasy, but never did write gobs of it. That doesn't mean I'm finished though, and one may turn up.

Summer has always been a dry spell for me on the sales front, and even though it's still raining and windy, Summer is upon us. Based upon my past, it makes no sense to release anything until school starts back up. That means I can keep writing and stockpiling short form stuff.

Most of it needs some kind of edit or polish, and I can also fiddle with that during the summer months. Then I can separate everything into three piles, Experimental Notebook II, Macabre Macaroni for the blog, and salvage for reference.

I wound up with a couple of tales that don't have a speculative element in them. It isn't unheard of, but I don't know exactly what to do with them. I like them, and should share them somewhere. Maybe I'll include them in a future Notebook, but make them extras. Meaning a dozen speculative tales, plus two free ones. Something like that.

I still have a long list of short form tales to write, and some of them are demanding keyboard time. I'll probably slow down now and pick away at one during the evenings.

In other news, I worked on a future Lisa Burton Radio slot and sent it back to the author. If any of you would like to get your character interviewed by Lisa, drop me a line. The instructions are at the top of my blog, and have their own dedicated page.

It's approximately noon here now. The bills are paid, the shopping is finished, I managed some writing time too. I may just veg out, but I'll probably play with my banner some more. I never got any comments on this one, so maybe something else will spark some interest. I have an idea or two in mind.

Back to the grind tomorrow. Hope you're all having a great Monday.


Filed under Writing

Just popping in

I’ve been slacking off on my blog duties lately. Things have gotten busy across multiple fronts.

My parents are visiting this weekend, and the women all decided to go shopping. I always have to choose whether to hang out with Mom or Dad. Dad won’t run around the mall anymore, and I really don’t blame him. We’re hanging out while I work on some projects and we visit.

I managed to set up two guest posts, and need to set up at least one more. I’ll work on it, but may put it off until Monday because it doesn’t have a tight deadline.

I’ll probably turn on the Preakness Stakes later today. Right now, I’ve found a pulpy old science fiction film. Dad and I are watching The Lost World from the 1950s. These are the kind of movies where they took real iguanas and monitor lizards, glued horns and fins to them, and called them dinosaurs.

These movies are so bad they’re fun. The group is a trope these days. There’s a dinosaur expert, a news reporter, native guides, and a city woman. There’s always a woman. They have no luggage, but she always manages to look sweet, have her hair fixed, and wear flawless makeup. She even manages a change of clothes or two. Her job is to ask questions for the men to answer, and scream whenever a dinosaur shows up. I’m sure she’s going to need rescuing at some point. Maybe multiple points.

One of the guides carries a guitar. Deep in the jungle with nothing useful, but he has a guitar. Hollywood had something musical in every movie back then.

They even managed to find a cavegirl. Movie cave girls never manage to be old, fat, or have missing teeth. She’s their prisoner, but no logical reason why is ever given. She escapes and they chase her so we can see more lizards dressed up for ComicCon.

Swanky city girl falls down, screams a lot. She never tries to get up and run away, because women in the 1950s never thought of that. Plus if she ran away she wouldn’t need rescued.

There was a man eating plant too.

There was a scene where one of the native guides went crazy and ran away screaming. A simple slap made him all better. A slap cured mental disorders in the 1950s. I expect quicksand to show up any moment.

Two of the dressed up lizards are fighting now. Today the cops would throw the film makers in jail for cruelty to animals, and justifiably so.

Honestly, I love this stuff. People would crucify me if I wrote a story like this, but I’m having a good time watching this movie.

Okay, so I can’t write a story quite like this, but I have a short story that kind of pays homage to this kind of thing. No lost worlds, or dinosaurs though. I really should add something like this to my short story list. I could avoid making it too tropish, and I would be expected to have a real plot.

Films and books like these were the parents of many popular films and books today. I can see shades of escaping the Poseidon Adventure, Jurassic Park, The Goonies, Indianna Jones, and many others here. Ancient pulpy stuff makes for good fertilizer.

I did get some cool poster images in mind for Lisa. She might make a great scream queen, or cavegirl someday. I don’t know what I would do with them, but something may come to me.

No idea what we are doing tonight, but I’ll be busy doing something with my parents. I’ll try to check in tomorrow.

Is anyone watching the Preakness? Do any of you like old pulpy science fiction? Do I need a mental health slap for enjoying this kind of thing?


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Blogging with my beer goggles on

My mother and father came to Idaho this weekend. Mom wants to do her Christmas shopping, so we're at the damned mall again.

I stood around while my wife and my mother looked at purses, and sniffed perfume cards. Mom asked me to come so I could help her at the Apple Store. My brother is going to have a nice Christmas. After we finished at Apple, I took the bags to the car, and headed for Old Chicago.

I've been drinking thick black beer, and decided my attitude improved enough to update this blog. I'm not a fan of shopping in general, and Christmas shopping is the worst. Everything is harder, from parking to crowd navigation. Thank God some genius decided to place good beer here. I'm stuck among a mountain of bags while updating this site.

I could have watched college football with Dad, but Mom need me. I'm such a sucker. I need to get to my critique work, and catch up on some reading. It would be nice to visit with Dad a bit, but here I am.

In case anyone is worried, my wife is a tea totaler. She will do the driving when we leave. I hope all of you are having a great time wherever you are. It's hard to post when I have company, so this is all I have.


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