Tag Archives: family

Back to the Grind

That’s a wrap. We had a lovely small Thanksgiving. It was great visiting, and I even enjoyed having Jackson around. My daughter cut my hair while she was here.

She picked up supplies, then headed for home. I loaded my truck and went to the office to exchange projects for next week, since I’m still being quarantined. Old What’s Her Face has been cleared to return to work, but I have to stay home for two more weeks.

I’ve been writing along in the early hours while everyone else sleeps. I did the wrap up of Serang’s last battle and pointed her on the trail to her ultimate goal. I kind of want to write a chapter of my con-men, but it only amounts to about a page. That seems kind of short for a chapter. All this while Lanternfish is still in dry dock an ocean away. I need to launch that ship and get her into action soon.

There’s been another “murder” in the hat story. I have a theory how Lizzie is going to hunt this monster, but it conflicts with narrowing down its hunting area. It looks like I’m going to have to give them another month to start putting the more important pieces together.

I carried my coffee into the bedroom, closed the door, then sat down beside the bed. “I’m having some problems.”

A sound like rustling leaves came from under the bed. Dried cornstalks grabbed onto the frame and pulled something heavy closer. “Well, well, well. Look who’s back.”

“I know it’s been a long time. Work, family, the Muse keeps me hopping.”

“And now you’re stumped again. Is that it?”

“Yeah. I need monsters. Since you’re the resident expert, I thought I’d come to you. The cornstalks are a nice touch.”

“Yeah. I like to change things up. It’s Autumn.”

“How’s Missing-Sock monster?”

“She left me. Remember the “It” movies?”

“Yeah.”

“She became a roadie for him.”

“Bummer.”

“So what kind of monsters do you need?”

“It’s Lanternfish.”

“Still? Haven’t you been writing that one for years?”

“It’s a trilogy. Kind of yes, and kind of no. It’s just that I’ve spent so much time with sea monsters, I’m having a hard time adjusting to dry land again.”

“Why not stick with what you’re good at?”

“I will. I want to reuse the tortugators in at least one scene. It stitches the books together to a degree, but a lot of this story will occur on dry land. It’s a fantasy world, so I need to keep it similar, but fresh.”

“But these books aren’t about conquering the monster, are they?”

“No. It’s more of a global war kind of thing.”

“I might posit that you don’t want monsters. What you’re looking for are fantasy creatures to pepper your landscape with.”

“That’s exactly it. Why didn’t I think of it myself? I mean, I have the snubhorns. They’re horselike creatures, but they scavenge a bit of flesh to keep everyone uncomfortable.”

“I think you’re too close to it. Hunt your werewolf for a few chapters in the other story, then come back to it. What would the area look like in reality? You might have birds, bugs, a herd of grazing animals. Now redesign everything. You need something that flys, something that herds together, that kind of thing. They aren’t really monsters.”

“Thanks, Under-the-Bed monster. That really helps. Do you have any prospects lined up since your girl left?”

“Not so much. That little dog makes me play Nylabones when you’re gone. The big guy sleeps until you come back.”

“Yeah, Frankie is a little intense with her bones.”

“Oh, I don’t know. I kind of enjoy it.”

“Good for you. Just don’t become like a crazy cat lady. There’s a nice culvert across the park about thirty feet from here.”

“Yeah? Maybe I’ll check it out.”

“Get yourself out there. You never know who, or what, you’ll meet.”

“I think I will, and Craig?”

“Yeah.”

“Don’t be a stranger. I enjoy our little conversations.”

“You’ve got it.”

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Happy Thanksgiving

My wife has cleared quarantine. I, on the other hand, am being required to quarantine for two more weeks by my workplace. She actually had the virus and gets to return to work sooner.

Since everything seems to be clear here, our daughter came for Thanksgiving. Jackson came with her.

He’s about three years old now, and isn’t very big. Maybe my mom always had big cats. Not sure. Anyway, he’s pretty friendly and doesn’t put up with any crap from the dogs, so I kind of like him.

My daughter committed to giving me a haircut before she goes home, so I get that out of the deal.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving. For those of you outside the USA I hope you have a wonderful day whatever you do.

Lisa Burton said to make sure you save room for dessert.

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Different weekend

My parents came for a visit this weekend. I don’t think I’ve seen them face to face for about a year. I know they haven’t come since Covid showed up, and they generally don’t travel during the Winter.

Things were subdued for obvious reasons. Mom likes to shop, but that didn’t happen. We all like to go to dinner, but that didn’t happen either. We had some upscale takeout from one of the popular restaurants around here instead.

We did a lot of visiting and that was the important part.

My daughter found a good deal on a floor model washing machine. It was in Boise, so we all made a drive to pick it up. I brought it home and left it in my truck until she could make arrangements to transfer it to a different truck for the trip to Sun Valley. That was our big outing for the weekend.

I have my blog tour stops in place for the coming week, but need to get the volunteers lined up for the following week. I’ve already heard from a couple and will get some things mailed out before bedtime tonight. I’ll just have to catch up on the others later.

Honestly, I wouldn’t trade the family time for another blog post.

Old What’s Her Face and I rearranged part of the garage. Some old things are headed for the dump. I found a couple of other things my brother might make use of. We made space for a 5 cubic foot freezer. It’s small, but we think it’s awesome. I’ll probably test it out by frosting a couple of beer mugs tonight. If that works we have about half a pig coming soon. This thing has been boxed up in the garage for too long, and it was time to deploy it.

Still watching for the first review for The Ballad of Mrs. Molony. I hope a few more show up. It’s a fun story, respectful of readers’ time, and perfect for some Halloween fun.

How was your weekend? Hope you got to do something fun.

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I owe you a post

During my downtime, there hasn’t been a lot to blog about. I’ve worked on promo and shared that here. The one time we got to go out I shared that with you. Sometimes life is just boring.

I paid the bills this morning and we’re already broke. That isn’t anything new around here. The skies have been so smokey it even affects my voice. Even the dogs are snotty right now.

We were promised rain, but only got around three drops. There was lightning, but it didn’t cause any problems in my locale.

I’m still trotting out the Friday teasers. Only one Friday left in September, then it’s time to publish. I’m hoping my last new Lisa Burton poster arrives in time, but if it doesn’t I’ll trot out an older Lisa poster along with a fun song.

I have a few blog things I need to finalize, or start, for appearances elsewhere. The first one involves getting a link to my new book. Timing is going to be important on this one.

Ultimately, I’ll start asking people to host me along the promotion trail, but not yet. I’ve fallen into the habit of writing tour posts as needed. Back when I pre-wrote a bunch of tour posts I also tended to get even more aggressive with my tours. This is both good and bad. It runs me ragged, but I may accomplish more, too. This time, it’s going to be the more leisurely couple of posts per week, and I can write them as needed. Some hosts have specific interested on their blogs and I can address those this way.

I failed on my reading goals this weekend. I feel bad about it, but our daughter came for a visit. Family comes first, now and always.

Old What’s Her Face is going to Nevada next weekend. That leaves me to watch the dogs, and there should be plenty of reading opportunities. I added an index card to one of my storyboards. That one is years down the road, but the board is coming along nicely.

Honestly, not a lot of interesting stuff happening right now. I’m okay with it, and kind of enjoying it if I’m being honest. Promo will start up soon, then I’ll start drafting a new book and things will pick up around here once more.

I hope you’re all being safe out there. Every corner of the country seems to have some kind of crap to deal with right now, and that’s beyond the universal crap of C-19.

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And then Rusty showed up

I already posted about my 3500 words on Friday. I’m on the downhill slide of Lanternfish, and it’s getting fun to move toward the big event that ends book two.

Old What’s Her Face has to work all four days I’m off, so getting to the conclusion is a real possibility. I added 2500 more words on Saturday morning. This included the creation of another new creature called a snubhorn, who is basically a beast of burden.

I needed to think the next bit through, and turned to my short story. Normally, I would jump to Mrs. Molony, but the short story has a deadline. I wound up finishing it, but it needs a little something. It’s going to be a bit short for the desired word count, but I don’t want to lengthen it only for that.

Then Rusty showed up. My daughter decided to drop in for a visit, but she brought Rusty with her. This is the leftover from a litter of Rottweiler puppies her roommate had bred. Since nobody wanted him, she decided to keep him.

I’m here to liven up your life.

I love seeing my daughter, but Rusty is a handful. He’s a perpetual motion machine, and licks everything. As he walks he licks the couch, the footstool, the chair, my shoe, the wall, whatever is within reach. It’s cute, but weird. He also get’s Frankie pretty fired up, to the point of angry sometimes.

He’s also gangly. He slid across the dining room floor, into the kitchen with all four paws in the air. He impacted the pantry doors and I had to put them back on track.

I worry, because he’s an intact male Rottweiler. Otto is also intact, and I would like to see Rusty start staying in Sun Valley when our daughter visits. He’s twice as big as he was when he came in April, and while he’s cute, Otto doesn’t need that shit. I’ve been around a lot of dogs, and Rusty is going to be huge when he grows up.

My daughter took him to town for a few hours this morning, and I added another 1500 words to Lanternfish. It isn’t a lot, but it’s better than nothing. It’s important stuff, too, so that helps. Then she came home and gave me a haircut.

As I’m writing this, Old What’s Her Face took our daughter to the store. There was some talk about buying something for dinner, so I have a hunch Rusty will impact my Monday writing plans, too.

All told, there isn’t a downside. I get to visit with my daughter, got a haircut, and honestly get a kick out of this gigantic weird puppy. I just wouldn’t want a steady diet of him.

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I’ve been kind of quiet lately

The work week has kept me pretty busy lately. That brings a certain amount of satisfaction, but it doesn’t make for good blog material. Fortunately, I was able to reblog a couple of good things, and I was up at Story Empire yesterday.

Still, that isn’t the same as fresh content. My daughter is visiting this weekend, and that’s always good. She’s also promised to give my son a haircut and I’m excited about that. He’s starting to look like that creepy girl from The ring. Maybe a member of the Manson Family.

We decided to rent a movie and watch it together last night. We went with ‘Birds Of Prey.’ Color me disappointed at best. Margot Robbie was so good as Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad, I didn’t see how this could miss. It missed. It felt rushed to market to capitalize on the prior success. Characters were under developed and it was kind of a mess. It wasn’t as bad as the second Ghost Rider movie, but it wasn’t good either.

There hasn’t been much writing time available, but I sent out a bit of Lanternfish for critique. I already have one sample back, but will save it until I have them all.

I forced a bit of time today and managed a thousand words of, well, it’s another new project. I was invited to send a short story to an anthology and committed. They like the idea of getting a speculative author to contribute something. These are all going to be murder mysteries.

There is a bit of a time crunch, but not too bad. Fortunately, I already have a private detective that I don’t need to create from scratch. It looks like Jason Fogg is on the case. If you’ve enjoyed Jason from either of the Experimental Notebooks, or Viral Blues, you might want to watch this space for more information as it unfolds.

I’ll probably continue to tap away at it this weekend. Lanternfish and Mrs. Molony are at points where they require more concentration. Right now, I’m still introducing characters and setting up the murder ideas with the Jason story. It’s easier to hack away at, and can be fine tuned later.

I still need to work up my next Story Empire post and get it scheduled. This will bring an end to my Character Archetypes, and I’m sorry to see it go. I may, or may not, do a wrap up post to it later on.

Hope you’re all finding something fun this weekend. Old What’s Her Face give up on finding a puzzle. It seems like everyone else got the idea before she did and there are none to be found.

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Trickling down…

My daughter left for Sun Valley yesterday. All the others decided to go to town. I get it, Elko is a small town and Boise has a bigger selection of things. I helped my daughter load up, then she decided to stay and chat a while.

While loading, we decided to run my trap line. I finally caught up with the little bastard that’s invaded my home.

Gotcha

We’ve lived here for 20 years and never had a mouse. My wife decided to pick up some newfangled Bloomingdales traps. I must have caught thousands of them with the old fashioned Victor Mouse Traps. These new ones went off multiple times, without catching the little bugger. I don’t think it would have taken this long with better equipment.

I kind of thought I’d sneak some reading or writing time in, but my daughter stayed two hours. I really don’t mind. One-on-one with my daughter for a couple hours was kind of a treat.

The in-laws left about two hours ago, with their two small dogs. We had a good visit, and even tried a new restaurant last night. It made for a wonderful evening.

Funny how people with a refrigerator overflowing with leftovers will go to a restaurant. We wouldn’t have, but it was a family visit kind of thing. We likely don’t have to do any shopping this week.

Opie, the dog, is the only one left. My son and his family got home about 2:00 AM. They said they’d come get him first thing this morning. It’s 11:30 already, so they kind of missed that appointment.

I don’t mind. Opie is a good boy and my dogs had a lot of fun with him.

I paid the bills this morning, and it’s about time to dig in for the remainder of the weekend.

I started reading a novel yesterday. My visit limited me to one chapter, but I started it. I may work on that sometime this afternoon.

If you had a holiday, I hope you had a wonderful one. If not, I hope you had a great weekend.

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My side project

This year, I started dabbling with the idea of two projects at a time. I always thought I couldn’t do it, but it’s made me more productive in the long run.

My only explanation is that when I get stumped in my main project, I can pick up the other one and move ahead. Usually by doing this, it unwinds the issue I had in the main project.

With Viral Blues and Serang out the door, I can concentrate on new fiction once more. The main goal is HMS Lanternfish, but it’s been “at anchor” since September. My side project is close to completion, so I’m focusing more on it right now.

Old What’s Her Face was off all weekend, and that prevents new fiction from happening. It’s one thing to write a blog post, or exchange a few emails with various hosts, but new fiction requires concentration.

We decided to rearrange the garage yesterday, and that was a more productive use of time. We threw some things out, swept up, moved the shelving around, then brought in the patio furniture for the winter. It was a good day, and the weather was perfect.

She took over the television, so we had Hallmark Christmas while I gnashed my teeth and prayed for a national emergency or something to interrupt. After that it was some red carpet event followed by an awards show. I’d moved on to bourbon by then, so it didn’t matter.

Today is a different matter. She has to work today, and my time is my own. The side project is called Grinders. This one is a niche bit of science fiction called cyber -punk.

Grinders are a group of people who implant technology into their own bodies, or those of friends, in the hopes of becoming more than human. This goes on today, so I ran with it.

Cyber-punk usually doesn’t have deep plots. It’s more about exploring this futuristic world, and all the fantastic new things it holds. I kept my plot pretty basic, but there is one – just in case.

It is science fiction, so I made sure to poke a stick at some of our modern issues and push them to extremes in the future. It’s small stuff, but kind of what science fiction is good at. You’ll see advertising pushed to the extreme, helicopter moms, safe spaces, plastic contamination, and global warming, but not in a preachy way.

I added about 2000 new words to it today, and moved from end-game to denouement. There are a couple of threads to sew up, so this section is longer than I usually do. It all works, so I’m not worried about it.

I’ve decided to write my first epilog, too. I know those are out of vogue, but there are a couple of animals who get abandoned about 3/4 of the way in, and I want to wrap their story. They no longer influence the plot, but a couple of paragraphs aren’t really a deal killer. Might even finish it next weekend.

Yesterday, I shared the Pinterest Board for Serang. A few people seemed to enjoy it, so I’m going to share the one for Grinders. You’ll see some cityscapes, character studies, and even a maze of pipe for a rat. Here’s the Pinterest Board.

One of the cool things about Pinterest is the boards stick around. If you want to write something about China, or your own cyber-punk story, you can snipe from these to start your own board. Just cruising them might give you a brand new idea.

Sean Harrington is sharing Lisa’s catfish poster on his DeviantArt site. Sean and I have a long history, and he might appreciate a bit of traffic. Here is the link if you’d like to visit him.

I’m still watching for reviews. Serang is too new to have anything, but Viral Blues is ripe for some fresh reviews. If you enjoyed this story, it’s a huge help to say something on Amazon. It doesn’t take much, just a line or two and it counts as much as those who write paragraphs of commentary.

When I finish Grinders, I’m going to take Lanternfish back up. I probably won’t start a side project for a while, but once I add about 30K words to that story, It’s likely I will start another one… on the side.

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Checking in for the weekend

I had a houseful of company this weekend. It’s just easier to step back and spend family time, than step away from them to keep this place updated.

I usually try to blog around three times per week, more occasionally. With the Viral Blues tour going on, it was pretty simple to reblog wherever I was and keep some original content available.

It occurred to me it might be easier to appear less places per week and spread the tour out. Prior to this release, I crammed about a dozen or more appearances into a ten day period, then went crazy trying to keep up with all of them. Spreading it all out didn’t make it any easier. You try stuff and you learn. It was worth a shot.

If nothing else, it could be more productive, since I’m targeting the Halloween season this time. Maybe there’s someone out there who hasn’t started looking for a story yet. Not everyone gets into Halloween for a long as I do.

All of my posts are original material, so following me around isn’t too boring. By now, my regulars all know about my book. You’ve either gotten a copy, or decided it wasn’t for you. The purpose of touring is to reach a larger audience. My hosts have regulars I haven’t met, or only know peripherally. Maybe one of them will take a chance on me, that’s kind of the theory.

The good news is all the reblogging is about to stop. (Hears a small cheer spread across the blogosphere.) This is because I’m also participating in the Something Wicked tour with my partners over at Story Empire. We’re all taking our show on the road to promote a few suitable Halloween titles. This means I’ll be hosting someone every day next week. My appearances will be on their blogs, but I won’t post over the top of my guests. Here is the Something Wicked tour schedule if you want to check in on any of us.

At Story Empire we try to bring our fellow authors valuable content. Sometimes it involves story craft, others it’s about promotion, all kinds of topics. We’re all authors, too, and we have to promote our own wares occasionally. I hope you guys take advantage of this to meet some outstanding authors, maybe find a new blog to follow, or even just spread the word. I’ll do my best to keep up with the ones I wrote and answer questions, or participate in the comments.

In other news, I have a full work-week ahead of me, then I’m burning some leave time. My goal is to get Serang off to the formatter, then prepare some posts to tour her story around. I’ll have to identify a few hosts and put the touch on them for Serang.

I’m probably crazy for scheduling them so close together, but I don’t see a lot of options. At least my schedule will be clear for whatever comes next.

As far as what comes next, I’d love to get back to HMS Lanternfish. I glanced at it briefly, and don’t even remember some of what I’ve written. Before I take it up again, I’ll have to read it from the beginning to get back into it. That’s one of the bad things about long breaks. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone on this. Promo has to happen, and the break was necessary.

It was a nice family weekend, we had some great seafood one night, and had a good visit. I don’t mind losing some time for that. Hope all of you had wonderful weekends, too.

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Stepped away

I’m really never not here, unless I’m away from wifi. This weekend, I stepped back and ignored everything. I’m sorting through a couple of things, and just needed a breather.

I probably missed some blogs, but I’ll be back online tomorrow. I also have the Story Empire post tomorrow, so I’ll be hanging out there.

I had a house full of company, and needed to devote some time to them. I didn’t write or do much of anything that required a computer. (I checked some baseball scores.)

Do you ever need to step back for a day?

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