Tag Archives: errands

Life takes the lead

I consider myself a fairly dedicated author. Most weekends I manage to accomplish something even if it’s small. Sometimes I make great strides.

This weekend wasn’t one of those times. I paid all the bills after the paychecks hit the bank. Always a good goal. I also had an appointment to get my brakes worked on today. This required a drop off at 8:00, then a pick up at 2:00. It’s about a 45 mile round trip and traffic can drag that out.

Basically, that was the extent of my day. Old What’s Her Face and I went to breakfast this morning after dropping off the truck.

I have twelve posts ready for my October blog tour and could probably use a couple more. Thing is, I don’t want to bore the hell out of people either. If I am a guest somewhere a couple of times per week, that’s going to fill the month of October.

Touring is a toss-up really. Most friends and fans will follow along and I kept each post unique. There’s only so much value in appealing to them over and over again. The dream is to reach new readers and that requires multiple appearances to glean them.

Where does that scale balance? More posts might help find some new fans. More posts could also get annoying to my loyal fans and friends. A dozen feels about right and the topics won’t get stale. I think that’s where I’m going to stand.

This means, no blog writing this weekend. I did a lot of surfing on Pinterest and a few similar places while daydreaming of future stories. I have some fun ideas and a few ideas how to bundle several of them into the same story. I suppose that’s productive in a way.

I’m looking forward to next weekend. I’m going to drive to Nevada and bring my mother back for a visit. I like long lonely drives and also enjoy drives were I can chat with someone. I’ll get one of each next Friday.

That might not be the best situation for writing, but regular life is important, too. I’m sure you’ll be hearing plenty from me once October arrives. Might even publish my book next weekend.

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Content with progress

Today is my flex day, and it’s nice when they tie into the weekends. I’ll start on my long change when I return to the office tomorrow. Since I work ten-hour shifts, four in a row gets kind of brutal. It’s my back mostly. Not a lot of nice recliners at the office.

During my vacation I had three goals, but only accomplished one and a half. This weekend I finished up that other half, then did a complete read-through of Midnight Rambler. I had a few things to fix, but it’s a fun story.

The hat has to face one of his enemies, and Lizzie finds a boyfriend of sorts. It all goes down during a major storm event that becomes almost a character in its own right.

Those who read all the stories will get hints of something that plays into my next project, but I’m still not abandoning the idea that each story stands alone.

My next move will be to send an email for a cover, internal graphics, and a couple of Lisa Burton posters. I just need to figure out what those might involve.

There were errands and such, too. We went from freezing to 86º in three days. I uncovered the air conditioner and got it running. I still haven’t set up the sprinkler system, but it’s been raining.

I also had to take my truck in for service. That cost me Saturday afternoon, since nothing is just around the corner here.

Old What’s Her Face signed up for a service called Peacock. It’s the NBC version of a streaming thing. I discovered one of my all-time favorite series on there and have been binge watching it. Crime Story is set in 1963. There’s a lot of neon, chrome, old cars, and a wonderful playlist involved. There’s also lots of murders and hits, the rise of a Mafioso, and the cop who’s trying to stop him. Who knows, maybe the Muse will bring me some fresh inspiration from all this.

Hope all of you enjoyed your weekends.

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The fetal position

This weekend was one of those that makes me curl up and chew my nails. My original intention was to publish Serang, then start thinking of tour posts to let the world know about it.

Yesterday was a chore day. This involved two appointments at nearly the same time. Old What’s Her Face had an appointment to get her brakes worked on. This meant I had to put Otto and Frankie in my truck, pick her up at the dealership, then take Otto for his vaccinations.

After that, she needed to stop by the pet store, and that led to Otto wanting to meet everyone in town. Things take longer when he’s around. It’s like hanging out with a rock star… “Just one more picture.”

Another leg of the plan was to come home, load up some garbage the sanitation guys won’t pick up, then visit the dump on the way to get the other car. Didn’t work out.

We managed date night at a new restaurant, and while it was decent, it didn’t blow me away for the expense.

Today, our grandson came over and bagged leaves. This was all prearranged because he wanted to make some money. It’s actually kind of nice, because I didn’t have to do it, and he was excited about it.

I ran Serang through the Amazon Mill, and am waiting now. Again, I’m biting my lip to see what happens. I had slow Internet this morning, and the previewer was sketchy at best. I decided, since it does not have the fun graphics, like the hat stories, the formatting was probably great.

It also never flagged any spelling errors, and it should have. This is a fantasy, and even words like “Serang” ought to draw attention. Locations like Di Guo Quishi should have also been questioned. (WordPress just questioned it.)

I’m going on blind faith with Serang. Hope it really does look great, and that it is spelling error free. I might have to buy my own copy to find out how the formatting came across.

Right now, Old What’s Her Face is having a Hallmark Christmas. You know the ones where the blossoming business woman dumps her boyfriend who is an up-and-comer and has a future, because she went to a small town and met a guy in flannel who owns his own apple press.

Mr. Rock-Star is snoring on the floor beside my feet.

I expect to hear from Amazon tomorrow, and we have to make that trip to the dump. The truck is all loaded in the garage, and they aren’t open today. Tomorrow is my flex day, so email will tell me what to work on before my wife gets home. It could be tour posts, or it could be new words on my side project, Grinders.

After all that, I consider it a good weekend. We got a lot done, and I got to do some of my projects among the mix. Hope all of you had a great weekend, too.

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Errand Day

I’m parked at the dealership waiting for my truck to get serviced. They have a great workstation, so I brought my iPad.

My last post got me to thinking about the old iPad. It makes a great coaster. Maybe one day, Christie’s will auction it off for millions in cyber currency.

“Step right up folks. This is called an iPad, and it once belonged to famous author C. S. Boyack. He wrote the novel “Panama” on it, and it is the birthplace of Lisa Burton, who we all know and love. Let’s start the bidding at one-hundred-thousand.”

After I leave here, I have to swing by the pharmacy and pick up prescriptions. High blood pressure is a real thing, so it’s best to stay on top of it.

After getting home, I need to schedule a blog post for a friend, then send her the advance link. I’m watching for a couple of my own promo posts, so I need to find and support those.

After that??? One of my favorite teams is playing today. They’re the “anyone against the Dodgers.” Always love them.

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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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One of those kind of days

I woke up this morning to the mellow tones of Otto barfing on my bedroom floor. That’s one of those sounds that wakes you completely up. It was 4:00 AM. He’s fine, sometimes he gets snotty and chokes. I’ve woken up coughing more than once myself.

Since I was up, I had some quiet time and spent it reading. I don’t often get to read these days, and relished the opportunity. As a young man I could devour a book per day. These days it’s more like a book per month.

I’m currently writing two stories at once, and intended to devote some time to both of them. I had a pile of critiques to address on one of them, and did that this morning. If I don’t do anything else, at least I got that done.

I looked to the other one and discovered a problem. This is me, being anal, but it completely stifled me. I’ve been working on it using two different computers, one Apple and one PC. (We get a lot of hour long lunches during January and February due to the holiday weeks.)

Specifically, I’m using Microsoft Word and Apple Pages for iPad. My problem involves straight quotes vs curly quotes. Shouldn’t be a problem, right? Some whizbang formatting trick and all should be well. (Apostrophes are the same way.)

I tried the help link in Pages to no avail. I Googled what to do, seemed like some reasonable suggestions, except they didn’t work. I found instructions to try on a Mac. Okay, I have a Mac. I opened my manuscript and went through the step by step instructions. Very easy to follow… except it didn’t work.

I fiddled around myself, and if I delete my paragraph marks, the entire super-paragraph takes on the format I want. Then I can hit return again, make the quotes the way I want them before moving to the next paragraph.

This is possible, but I’m not going to do it just yet. I’m going to see if I can fix it using Word. At this point I gave up completely.

This is my short weekend, and I have other things that need tending. I got a haircut, paid the bills, and we have some errands in town. We’ll probably go out to dinner while we’re out.

Tomorrow is the day I call my parents, and I’m not going to address it then either.

I have some decent time coming up, and I’ll take up the keyboard then.

I hope you are having a better weekend than I am. Boise is covered in snow and ice, but it’s pretty shallow. More freezing than anything else. Maybe some beef and beer will improve my outlook tonight.

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Life takes precedence

I never even opened my manuscript today. Not one new word, or bit of editing. My wife and I were both off and decided to dedicate ourselves to other things, like each other.

The day started off with peach waffles.

Fresh from the backyard, these were awesome. There is a waffle in a baggie, and a few more spoonfuls of peaches in the refrigerator. I might do this again tomorrow.

It’s getting to where finding a good peach on the tree is a challenge. The birds are having a field day back there right now. There are probably about ten bushel baskets left on the tree. It grows enough for all of us, and I’m about finished with peaches for this year.

We had to get my wife’s car serviced today, so we spent an hour at the dealership. Service is free there, and free is important to us right now.

After that, we went to Old Chicago for pizza, and I had beer. There were a few stops on the way home to get Otto a new ball, and my wife some lemon cucumbers.

I pulled an odd stunt today. My out and about glasses are bifocals, and they darken in the sun. I elected to leave them home in favor of the progressives. All the material says you have to wear the progressives, or you’re never going to get used to them.

I would have liked to have the shades, but I’m determined to get used to these odd lenses. It’s working out really well. They have a distance correction, and that’s very clear. So far so good.

Drinking a couple of heavy dark beers, then heading out to 100 degree bright sunlight, was pretty strange. The peripheral vision on these things is dismal at best. Everything moves in an unreal fashion off to the sides. I may, or may not have said something to my wife about how her jelly was jiggling.

Honestly, I’m getting along well with the progressives, but there is a reason I have the other glasses too.

It’s looking like new fiction over the coming weekend is on thin ice. I only have two days this time, and we’re both off together. This story has no deadlines, so I’m not going to let it bother me.

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Short and sweet

Today was a day of errands and correspondence. We watched the Kentucky Derby, and will head for the movie theater in an hour or so. Is it ever not muddy at the Kentucky Derby?

I usually watch the pregame show for the Derby too, but errands got in the way. Since I'm going to write a story called The Hat, I kind of wanted to see all the girls in big hats for research purposes.

The errands were important though. We bought a bag of puppy chow, a new doggie bed, a tiny little harness and leash, a new bowl, and some new baby toys. While we were out, the breeder sent us a few pictures.

This is the sweet part of my post.

Just look at that face.

A very patient cat helped lend a bit of size perspective here.

Next Saturday, we'll drive back to Burley and pick her up. Otto loved the puppies when we visited, but I hope he isn't a toy hog. He's going to have to share with Frankie from next week on.

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Back to work tomorrow

Okay, so I admit to being responsible for my own attitude. Last week was shitty, and I can either walk in with a bad attitude, or find a way to get over it. It won't be easy, but I hope I'm capable of getting on with things.

I finished all my promotional posts, but they need a little time to ferment before I send them out. They're all pretty minimal right now and maybe a little more will occur to me. I also finished up this week's Lisa Burton Radio and got it scheduled.

Then a friend suggested a guest post, and I roughed something out but it's still in the works. I also managed reading a half dozen chapters of a new book.

Beyond that, I did my errands and spent a few hours running around town. I'm calling it a good day, even though there was no new fiction involved.

Ennis Fine Furniture is having a warehouse auction that I'd really like to attend. It's on a week night after work, and doesn't fit into either of our schedules. This is mostly about commuting, but we're going to have to give it a pass. My wife has never been to an auction, and it might be interesting. (Twenty miles home, twenty miles back, twenty miles home again. Her alarm goes off at 2:30, mine at 4:00, and we just started Daylight Savings Time… no.)

Thursday is critique group, but there are only two of us now. That won't take very long, and it's near the office.

I have company coming next weekend, so I'm in good shape to slack off a little. It's probably good to step back from Yak Guy, even though I can see the finish line. When I can pick it up, I'll be in a good place to work on it.

Hope you guys had a good Monday.

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Partial project day

Today was dedicated to finishing tasks. Some were started, some weren't, and I didn't get all the way through the list.

I need five posts for a promo I'm going to be doing. I still have two left to write, and those that exist need a little something too. Watch this space, and you may find some great deals on my books in the next couple of weeks. I blog about bulldogs, and movies, writing, and all kinds of things, but occasionally I need to mention that I have books to sell. “Hey, I have books to sell.”

The good news is that I don't return to the paycheck job until Tuesday. I have one more day to work on them.

I intended to do some reading today, but failed completely. We went to one of our favorite places last night, then I stayed up late playing video games with my son. Somehow, I forgot to plug in my iPad. No juice = no reading. I used what little juice remained to pay bills today, so I can scratch that off the list.

I dedicated my analog time to working on a critique. My crit group is on life support after several years. We're down to two members remaining, but we're meeting next week anyway. Part of the discussion will be about how to get new members. I don't know too many writers in the Boise area, but I'd really like to keep this going. I get different values from critique and beta readers. I want both.

While recharging, I found a movie. I said yesterday that Skull Island left me a little flat. Today, on cable, I watched Bridge of Spies, with Tom Hanks. This movie gave me more than I expected, and I would watch it again. I knew the story, but seeing it dramatized was well worth it. Great movie.

Tomorrow, I have to get my truck sniff tested. It's an absurd local regulation, but I have to do it. I may check my meds and try getting them refilled while I'm out. I need to write two more promo posts, and I'm going to read come hell or high water.

Next weekend brings the return of company, so no writing. I'm at a point in Yak Guy where I need to decide how much wandering around in the wilderness is acceptable. Too much will bore readers. I could work this toward the end, but it might wind up being a 70K word novel. In this modern era, maybe that is preferable. It's definitely preferable to boring readers with too much star gazing.

Talk to me here. Did you get a different vibe from Skull Island? Have you seen Bridge of Spies? Do you know any Boise area fiction authors who would like to join a critique group? Are you interested in some great book deals in the first week of April? How do you feel about novels on the short side of word count? How in the heck do you guys find time for your reading?

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