Tag Archives: critique

Busy, but productive

I started my week off with a visit to Mae Clair’s blog. I ended it with a stop by John Howell’s place. These were both stops to promote Grinders. A couple per week is much easier to manage than the dozen or so I’ve done in the past. I still intend to put out a decent number of them, but I’m going to spread them out a bit more.

Lisa Burton went back on the air somewhere in the middle to host Charles Yallowitz. He also has a new book out, so if you haven’t stopped by Lisa Burton Radio, you probably should.

All of these fine people loaned me their space, or have agreed to soon. I would appreciate it if you’d stop by their places and check them out. Maybe you’ll find a cool new blogger to follow. They’re all accomplished authors, so you might find some great reading there, too.

Today, I focused on producing more tour posts for Grinders, but at two per week it was much less stressful. I’m making every post unique, and that allows me to reblog them without sounding like a broken record. More like a wounded record, maybe.

I also made a new pinned tweet. I’m a big believer in the pinned tweet, and regularly share those of my friends and supporters. That’s why I’m embarrassed to admit that I forgot to make one for Serang. Maybe if I hit the Summer doldrums I can toss one out for that story. It isn’t like I don’t have some great artwork to add to it. I’m not much of an artist, but I can cobble together something presentable.

I also worked through critiques for two different projects. My side project was pretty easy, but Lanternfish took some effort. My group helped me make this section so much better, and I owe them a huge debt. Both projects are ready for new words, and I may add some tomorrow. I have some fun research that I need to shoehorn into Lanternfish somehow.

Today I cleared my decks. No idea where tomorrow will lead me, and I don’t really have a plan for it. I’ll check in with all my hosted posts and might even manage some new words. Hope all of you have a great weekend ahead of you.

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Weekend efforts

The writing cabin was quiet all weekend. Lisa is off somewhere with Sean Harrington making promotional art for Grinders. You would think this is the perfect opportunity to get some writing done, but it didn’t play out that way.

I still have the cover reveal happening for Grinders. There are multiple posts across the blogosphere currently, and if you find one, I’d appreciate a tweet or FB post in support. I love comments, and am circling back through to keep up with those.

I paid the invoice for book formatting, and already received the finished product back. Grinders is easier to format than one of The Hat books, because it does not include the silly little graphics of that series.

Doubt

Doubt, the oversized raven who was a gift from my Muse, stared glared at me from across the office. He opened his wings then glided to my desk. “Glorp. Glorp.

Despite their similarities, Ravens are not crows, and make the damndest collection of noises. He pecked at the back of my iPad. “Glorp.”

“Not this time, pal. I think Grinders is a good story. All my advance readers are excited for it, and you aren’t going to bring me down about it.”

“Chugga, glorp.”

“Okay, so it won’t publish for Chinese New Year. That only matters to me. Readers won’t care one way or the other. They just want a good story. Once Lisa gets home with the posters, I’ll make it available.”

“Chu, chu, chugga.”

“No. You’re not getting into my head this time. It’s always a concern with a new book, but my stuff has been well received in the past. I have the cover. I have the formatted copy, and once Lisa gets home, I’ll start writing blog posts and contacting people about my tour.”

He paced back and forth across the desktop. “Glup-glorp. Glup-glorp.”

“Do your damndest, but I haven’t got time for you right now.”

He continued to pace and scold, but I opened the HMS Lanternfish file and added about 1500 words to that story. It still isn’t enough to send out to my critique group, but about half of them still have the submission for the next story about Lizzie & The Hat. I don’t want to wear out my welcome in the group.

Lanternfish sailed away from Bungo Bungo, and the root monsters had a unique spin on story time. They might have taken things a bit too far this round, and I had to figure out some punishment details for them.

Everyone seems to be on good terms once more, but it’s a long way to Giapon. James can’t use his magical sextant now, because they have La Girona in their wake. La Girona is a ship they captured, and might be quite valuable to the war effort, if they ever get there.

Sailing to Giapon, and on to the war, has to be done the old fashioned way. This poses some issues for me. In fiction, you have to take the boring stuff out. I may move the story ahead to Giapon, or I might have another sea based encounter for them. Right now, I’m leaning toward moving the story forward. I have a whole week to dwell on it now. Besides, after Giapon I need to do even more sailing, so a monster there might be more appropriate.

“Glup, glup, glup.”

“No. I’m not going to write a raven into my story. Go back to your perch. I have to check on comments along my cover reveal trail.”

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Some weekends are like that…

This is my short weekend based upon the flex schedule at work. Because of that, I made limited plans and seemed to have accomplished those.

My only real goal was to tune up a section of HMS Lanternfish, and it needed some serious tuning. It was full of autocorrect and “it’s” kind of mistakes. My group looked it over, and I found some additional ones while I was working on their suggestions.

I just get typing along and these things happen. My big problem is that I can’t see them in my own work. I must have gone over this three times before I shared it. The work is much tighter now, and vastly improved.

That is the only thing I had planned. Tomorrow is the day I call my parents and I usually veg a bit on Sundays.

Next weekend, my flex schedule plays to my advantage. I wind up with a four day weekend, and ought to get some new words then.

I need to finish reading a book I started a long time ago, then I really ought to start word searches and the final read through on Grinders. Sean will deliver the cover art in no time now.

We managed a nice date night at a new place in Eagle. This is only about ten highway miles from town, and it was pretty good.

In other news, Otto and Frankie got new tennis balls. There’s been a whole lot of ball playing going on around here.

Otto

We buy him the oversized ones, because his mouth is so damned big. Frankie gets ones that are smaller than tennis players use.

My daughter texted while we were at supper. She is pretty highly ranked at the airport, and graduated from beauty school several years ago. The fire department is going to pay her to do some theatrical makeup simulating a plane crash at the airport. This is a training exercise and she’s pretty jazzed about it. She never said if she was participating in the exercise, but she’s going to do all of their makeup. I think that’s pretty cool.

There you have it. Not a lot going on for me personally, but it accomplishes a blog update.

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All over the place today

Old What’s Her Face is off this weekend, so I did what I could. Things were pretty calm this morning so I added words to HMS Lanternfish. I didn’t track it, but it feels like about 2000 words.

Part of this was coming down from the action scene I wrote Wednesday. My crew, particularly the captain, needs time to process, and in this case heal. Those bits always take me longer to write.

Then I added a few root monster antics, because they’ve been fairly quiet for a chapter or two. It worked out kind of cool, because it led into a scene involving St. Elmo’s fire at the top of the main mast.

Since this is fantasy, a rare natural phenomenon isn’t good enough. It brought James a vision, and it’s going to let me reveal some cool things. I just haven’t written all of that yet.

Basically, it involved the king of Saphelon discussing the arrival of the Fulminites on their continent. James’s father started the first war on behalf of this king, but that’s not in the history books. The books make the current enemy, Hollish, appear to be the aggressors. The fun part is that it was James’s father who brought the Fulminites to this part of the world. When I write that out, maybe that’s why he fled with his young son to a safer area.

I also got to add a minor sea creature, and that helps with world building. Then another root monster earned a name.

Beyond that, I had my final critiques for Grinders to deal with. I spent a few hours tweaking this story, and am basically finished. I’ll take it out in January and give it a complete read over before publishing. I think you guys are going to like it.

Tonight, I sent an email to Sean Harrington about cover art and Lisa Burton posters. Grinders is a stand alone book, and was one of my side projects over the summer. I hope to release it about the time the snow melts.

In other news, we have our Star Wars tickets for the 21st. We’ve also been digging The Mandalorian on Disney+. Just listen to this theme. You have to give it a few, because the intro is long.

When I close my eyes and listen, I get a visual of Serang walking down the dock toward some unseen enemy whilst twirling her guandao slowly. It has a throwback sound to it that reminds me of Ennio Morricone.

Aside from this, Apple has yet another update. This one screwed up WordPress for me. Now everything I do, it tries to force me into the app. Don’t get me wrong, the app does some great things, but reading and commenting on blogs isn’t one of them. I have a way to force it all to work in Safari, but don’t think I should have to. Why does it seem like any upgrade only seems to break things that worked fine before? It seems to be that way for all apps, and platforms.

I doubt much, if any, progress is happening tomorrow, but my flex day is Monday. I kind of expect to move Lanternfish ahead on Monday.

Hope all of you are having a great weekend. It’s time for a nice vanilla porter and an older Star Wars movie.

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I’m so happy about this

Apple recently split out iOS, making one for phones and a slightly different one for iPads. Like a good gadget zombie, I dutifully updated everything.

This is followed by the rash of apps that need to be updated. Check that box off.

I do everything on my big iPad Pro. I bought one of the original ones, because I wanted to be able to open more than one window at a time. It works great, but it was limited to different programs.

This is why I lamented my old iPad’s inability to handle the new operating systems. I used to take redlines of my critique sections, open them on the old iPad, then edit on the iPad Pro. Worked great.

The last few rounds, I’ve been opening the redline on my phone and “getting by” that way.

However, the new updates provided something wonderful. I can now open two Apple Pages documents side-by-side. With the big screen on the Pro, it works wonderfully for my purposes.

I made this image as an example for this post. Imagine the Viral Blues side being my work in progress, the Lanternfish side being a redline markup of the latest critique I received. I’m excited, let me tell you.

Rumor is that it works on other gadgets, too. I can’t imagine trying to use this on a phone, but if that shakes your booty, apparently it works there, too.

It still works with different programs, and there are times when I use the slider in the middle to make the right side narrow, then leave a Google search open. Thesaurus.com, maps, you get the idea. The ability to have two documents is a game changer for me.

I may be the only person out there who writes on Apple Pages (with an iPad), but if you’re one of us, you might find this helpful.

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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.

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A small update

I put the finishing touches to The Viral Blues this morning before dogs and family started stirring.

From my perspective, it was good enough to share with critique partners, but I have a lot to fix. They were all fast today, and I had responses before we even finished our goofing around for the day.

We decided to drive back to Donnelly, absent the trailer. My USFS maps indicate a lot of campgrounds on the back side of Cascade Reservoir. In all these years, I’ve never taken the drive around the lake, and today was the day.

The best campgrounds were near Donnelly, and after the pavement ended there wasn’t a lot to offer on that front. Beautiful, no doubt, but not quite what we were looking for in a campground. (There is a custom hat maker in Donnelly, but I resisted. This is like catnip to me, but when you’re broke all the time you have to behave.)

I was a bit disappointed in the road maintenance. The Forest Circus usually keeps the roads bladed pretty well, and while this road is big, it’s a pothole and washboard disaster.

We stopped one place to let the dogs potty. Otto was impressed that squirrels here live in the ground. He sniffed and dug at several holes. Frankie just freaks out, because she loves her own yard.

I snapped a few photos, but they all came out about the same. Here is one if you’d like to get a look at the scenery.

A more responsible photographer would have stepped off the road

There are ospreys everywhere you look, but not an eagle in sight. We also saw tons of pretty songbirds, and a few white pelicans on the water.

We’re getting ready for supper right now. I worked through one of the critiques, but am saving the others for later. I’m off Monday too, and that might be a good time for those.

If I get far enough, I might start the word searches on Serang.

Here is a still life from inside the camper.

I’ll probably fiddle around with Pinterest or something after supper. We thought about bringing a DVD of Captain Marvel, but blew it off.

We’ll go home at a leisurely pace tomorrow. That will give us time to wash the camper off, put our stuff away, and still have a day to accomplish things on monday.

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