Tag Archives: family

Slow weekend

This was one of my two day weekends. These seem to happen more frequently around holidays, and it is what it is. That didn’t leave much time for author chores.

Our daughter came to visit on Friday. She spent the night and I had a wonderful visit with her on Saturday. No lamenting that time. I really enjoyed our time together, but it didn’t leave much room for anything else.

Still loaded with Asian pears. I tried to send a bag home with my daughter, but she passed. I might have to look up some recipes for them.

I really boogered up the last chapter of Good Liniment I shared with my critique group. I spent the rest of Saturday trying to repair it, and still don’t like it.

I spent this morning talking to my parents. They got to go pick choke cherries, and I’m kind of jealous. It sounds like such a nice day afield. Things like that aren’t in the cards for me right now, so I’ll have to live through their adventures.

This afternoon, I went beyond the crappy chapter, and some of the repairs seemed to work better there. Still don’t feel confident about it. I’ve gone from being excited to worried about this book.

Hopefully, by 2022, I’ll get over it. I have so many ideas for Lizzie and the hat, and this story needs to be one of them in my mind. I even made some notes to improve a story that’s four books down the line.

I spent a little time trying to cobble together something for a bit of October promo. That’s always been my best month, and while I don’t have a new release for the Halloween season, I have plenty of options to draw some interest.

I also wrote back material for Wreck of the Lanternfish. I got a little emotional addressing the eventual readers. I’ve spent a lot of time and effort with these characters over the last few years. It’s nearly ready to go. Once I get paid, I’ll probably contact my formatter. Or, I might read through it once again. Who knows.

That’s it for my author’s time. It might not seem like much, but I moved the pegs a little on several projects. I didn’t write any new words, but there will be other weekends.

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Assessments and Updates

I owe you guys an update. About a month ago, I had an interview on Voice of Indie podcast. Here’s a link if you’d like to check it out after the fact. https://www.blogtalkradio.com/voiceofindie1/2021/07/22/voice-of-indie-episode-051

I scheduled some free days to announce during the show, and watched to see what happened. I gave away personal records of books, and both Serang and Grinders spiked in the best-givers lists. Rumor is they will continue to do well. Let’s take a look at that.

I moved a few actual copies in the subsequent weeks, but that doesn’t seem to be where the business is these days. Almost all of my action has been in “pages read,” by Kindle Unlimited members. I did pretty well over there. That seemed to last for two weeks, then trailed off.

Serang got reviews, but most of them were star-ratings only. Grinders didn’t get anything. I was cheering for Grinders since it’s one of my personal favorites. I moved a lot of copies of it, and got plenty of page reads, just no reviews.

Somewhere along the line, a guy has to stop. I know if I’d kept up on promo, I could have probably kept the train moving. There are just other things that need tending to.

Today, I traded Old What’s Her Face cars, then took her vehicle for service. She took my truck to work. The Toyota place has a great workstation, and I brought my iPad so I could work through critiques I received on Good Liniment. I brought plenty more to do, but a lube and oil only takes so long.

This is my short weekend, and I don’t know what I’ll do next. I’ll call my parents tomorrow, then might add words to my secret project. I’m also thinking toward some October promo and need to figure out what that might look like.

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Not a lot to show for this weekend

I try to stay busy, I always do, but sometimes there isn’t a lot to show for my efforts.

It started off with a visit from our daughter. I’m a firm believer that family comes first, so I never tried to do anything until she went home. We had a nice visit, and she even managed to cut my hair while she was here.

Had to deal with a loss of power to the deep freeze. This involved a stupid GFI switch. We didn’t lose anything, but had some things we had to cook PDQ. I discovered it because my beer mugs didn’t get frosty overnight.

Beyond that, it was all “Stuff.” I worked on something for Teri Polen’s Bad Moon Rising, but it isn’t ready yet. I worked all the way to the end of the Lanternfish story. I feel like I caught most things, but I always miss something. Reading it once more might help. I’d like to publish it sometime in November.

I also dedicated some time to Good Liniment. Nothing too earth shattering, but I reworded a few sections prior to sharing it with my critique group. I included a text thread in this section, because Hat stories include dumb things. It looks like they all came across the right way. One never knows when I text my daughter, photograph the screen, upload it to Apple Pages, then leave Apple to share it in Word format. My daughter and I had fun creating the texts.

Then there were graphics. I’m not a graphics guy, but I took a tip from Harmony Kent, then assembled the rest by hand in a graphics program I have. The end results weren’t too bad, and I might use them one day.

Word count, not so much. Certainly less than a thousand words. I’m not feeling any kind of rush on this project, so I’m not going to lament this. It’s supposed to be a side project, and I’m going to treat it that way.

It’s kind of productive, but not in a way I can demonstrate. I think next weekend will be similar. I’m ahead for a change, so I’m not going to beat myself up over it. Eventually, the side project will cause me to start a main project. Lanternfish will come out, and I’ll have to figure out some promo for it. Maybe early next year I’ll release Good Liniment.

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Of daughters and pirates

I intended to work on my book today, but didn’t intend to hit it hard. I allowed myself to wake up whenever Otto decided he was hungry. It was still 6:30, but it’s two hours later than my alarm goes off.

I took my time. Read some blogs, dealt with email, and enjoyed my coffee. Even managed to pay the bills.

I started by backing up two chapters and made a few more adjustments than I usually do. I’m on the downhill slide here, and the denouement is writing itself pretty well. Since this is a trilogy, I have a lot of characters to cover.

I no sooner started than the phone rang. My daughter wanted to chat. Her premise was her sore feet. The backstory is that she rolled her ankle a couple of times in the last few years. She works on her feet and they get sore.

When she was here a few weeks ago, I showed her my rolley thing that you put on the ground and roll around with your foot. It’s like a short rolling pin, but is lathe turned so it has grooves. After about five minutes her feet felt great. She called to tell me she ordered one from Amazon.

“Okay. Good job. Thanks for calling…”

Nope.

Ninety minutes later we were still on the phone. Budgets, shoes, work, Covid, etc. Mostly nothing special, but it was her. I can’t cut her off, and actually enjoy chatting with her.

Once we finally disconnected it was lunchtime. I decided to make myself a hoagie sandwich and used the stout beer mustard Old What’s Her Face bought me. It was really good.

Then I started writing, but knew I wasn’t going to finish. I brought things up to the point of Serang’s denouement, and on the cusp of the root monsters. I just never made it that far.

I have all weekend and am certain to finish the draft. I’m finding it kind of sad to bring this full circle. I’ve sailed a few seas with these characters, but it’s time to give them their happy endings. If my daughter claimed some of that time it’s fine by me.

My sincerest hope is that everyone’s ending is suitable for my readers. What I have in mind is realistic, and feels like it makes sense for the various characters.

I’ll get another chance tomorrow, and that will be fine by me.

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One for the books

Family time managed to cut into the four days I had available. I’ve already posted about graduation. About all there is to do there is attend for the graduate.

We went to a party at my son’s house to celebrate her accomplishment, and it was anything but small and intimate.

When Sunday came around, my wife had to work. That left my daughter and I to have a long visit. I called my parents while she went for her fancy coffee, then we had several hours to ourselves.

I really enjoyed spending quality father-daughter time. The topics don’t matter very much, it was just the time hanging out that mattered.

This morning, I had the house to myself. I fed the dogs, then started off with a small walk to clear the cobwebs. I’d been suffering for time to work on Lanternfish, and then it only moved ahead by small increments.

That wasn’t what happened today. When I stopped last time, the end of the war was upon us. I started today with the formal surrender.

After that it was time to reoccupy the city, and start reconstruction of several countries. Some of this doesn’t lend itself to fantasy, but I managed to show the cooks with pieces of something I called the river dog. It has huge calamari type tentacles.

I also discovered the bag moth larva on Pinterest. These things cover themselves with twigs and sand, much like a caddis fly, only they are land born. By making mine much larger, I added an interesting scene where one had a pistol woven into its home. It makes a little statement about the litter of war and shows life going on. I called mine the bag weevil.

I could write another novel about the reconstruction and all the political gyrations between allies and enemies, but this is supposed to be the denouement for Lanternfish. I have a lot of characters to get to, and while the main ones will get more attention, some of the minor ones were somebody’s favorites and I need to address them, too.

A lot of planning went into this phase and you can see the value in the 5800 words I wrote today. I could have kept going, but didn’t want to rush things.

Next weekend isn’t looking too favorable, but I might get a few hours. I only had a goal of 2021 for this book. I think I can publish it in the fall and not feel rushed to get it out. That gives me plenty of time in the fermenter, and some decent hours for polishing it up.

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Two days lost, more to come

I took a vacation day on Friday. This was for our granddaughter’s high school graduation. It was held in a huge center, and they were running grads through all day. There was a school prior to ours, and another one after.

If you’ve ever been to a graduation, you know that your presence is more important than anything else. She was all smiles and photos, as one should be. Otherwise it was three hours in an uncomfortable chair, listing to the same speeches people have been making for millennia, and listening to the band play Pomp and Circumstance.

I’m proud of her, but didn’t get any writing done. Our daughter came over for the big event, so I got to spend time with her. Our son and his wife threw her a big party this afternoon, so between having our daughter and going there… nothing accomplished.

I have to call my parents tomorrow, and can usually steal some time after that. No idea when our daughter will go home and I don’t want to miss any visits with her. Tomorrow isn’t looking too promising either.

My flex day is Monday. I should have the house to myself, and have high hopes to get something done.

It feels like I’ve abandoned this blog, but I’ve just been busy elsewhere. If I get lucky, I can end the war in Lanternfish and start toward the denouement phase. If not, I’m not going to fret over lost time. I got to visit with my daughter, and hung out with my son and his family for the first time in a long stretch.

On the plus side, I scored a graduation program. I find these extremely helpful for naming my fictional characters.

I’ve been working on a cool idea for Story Empire, but it requires a second person. I’ve not had any luck in finding that person. I wound up hacking out a different post for my next turn through the rotation. It came out pretty well, but isn’t what I wanted to post. Perhaps I’ll find that other person in a few weeks.

I found an online hypotenuse calculator. I now know for sure whether an upright bass will fit into a specific pickup bed. (It will, even the full sized instrument.) Saved me from digging out my old HP and figuring out where I could find batteries.

I also came up with a couple of cool new characters, but don’t really know what story they might fit into. I’m glad to meet them, but they need some work. It appears I don’t need specific time to exercise my imagination.

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Rambles from the real world

I get a three day weekend once more. This is the end of my fun shift, then I get a short weekend in the middle before it starts all over again. This weekend wasn’t earmarked for writing, but it could still happen. Monday is probably my best chance.

Our daughter came overnight, and I wanted to spend any available time with her. She didn’t get to come on her birthday, so Old What’s Her Face wanted to take her out. Even this wound up being a compromise. She had to go home this afternoon to work Sunday.

When you write a series about a twenty-something female, it’s nice to compare notes with my daughter. She helps with some of Lizzie’s outfits, and knows some things I wouldn’t even think of. I’m good with monsters, freaky things, and even old-school music. When it comes to wrap dresses, nail art, and some of those things I appreciate the help.

We settled for lunch at The Cheesecake Factory. We’re both so full, it will serve as dinner and lunch. Still ordered dessert to go, so that will suffice this evening. I had mine early, maybe I won’t have heartburn all night by doing that.

Saw a cool whale-tale Porsche in the mall parking lot. This one had custom paint. It was pink, but so dark it was nearly purple. Doesn’t mean anything, really, I just thought it was cool. It was obviously well loved.

Came home and caught the Derby. There might have been some future book research involved, but not to the extent that I failed to enjoy the event. He never stood a chance, but I liked the name of one horse, Soup & Sandwich. He actually started strong, but finished dead last. He was also a pretty blue roan. Also, lots of pretty girls in hats. That could play into a future story after I give it some thought.

As far as accomplishing anything, after our daughter left, I wrote one blog tour post. This one involves Lisa visiting someone and handing out a poster. I don’t have the poster yet, but feel like I am a step ahead. I don’t even have a blurb yet, so I’ll have to tag that onto any posts I get written after the fact.

We had an awesome thunderstorm this afternoon. Lots of lightning and a downpour the likes of something we haven’t seen in a year. The dogs were hilarious, running out in the rain to bark, then racing inside because it was raining so hard.

Sundays usually aren’t good writing days. I call my parents, mess with bulldogs and other important things. There should be time to pre-write more blog tour posts. That will be my goal.

When it comes to Monday, I’m off, will have the house to myself, might score some quality writing time then.

Hope all of you are having great weekends. I am.

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Tough going today

I scratched this weekend off as far as writing is concerned. Our daughter was supposed to come and we were going to help celebrate her birthday.

When you live in a smaller town, you keep a list of things you want to do when you do go somewhere bigger. Our daughter is living that now. One of her goals was to visit her hairdresser. The hairdresser came down with Covid and cancelled. This means our daughter isn’t coming and will have to reschedule.

I get it. She’s a young woman making her own way out there, and even the gasoline has to be accounted for. I would reschedule things myself in her place.

That left me with available time, so I used it to write. I’m in a tough transitional part of my story, so it was slow going.

My main character, James, has to give up everything and step into a new role. I tried to show a few emotions, but probably didn’t dive deep enough into that. Project for later.

I moved James inland to get involved in the land war. He’s separated from his son, who is MIA, but he has to go.

Transitions are part of every story, but I find them difficult. The words don’t flow quite as well as they do in the exciting parts. It came to just over 1800 words today.

Now that he’s relocated, it’s time to review all available intelligence. That will move to making plans, and things tend to pick up from there. The last line for today involved him hearing a rumor about Serang and her army. Some of this has to happen before all the characters can converge once more.

Saturday is looking like a writing day, too. Things might move faster since I put the work in today. I still have to figure out what to do with the root monsters. They’re with James, but can’t steal from his allies. I’m sure there is some kind of mischief they can get into along the way.

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A writer’s lament

Hi, I’m Craig, and I haven’t written a new word for two weeks. I’m unlikely to get more next week unless something changes.

Sounds like an AA meeting.

The fact is, this has been the busiest week of the year at my workplace. I was heavily involved in prep leading up to all this, too. At some point, I kind of left it all on the field, to use a sports phrase.

Old What’s Her Face and I have had the same days off, too. This isn’t particularly useful when it comes to penning new material.

I have some leave coming up, and may get to do some writing then. However, I have a stockpile of errands that will interfere to a degree if I don’t plan things well. I have to get my truck serviced, and take care of a small repair. I also have to get it sniffed for pollutants. Then there is the matter of swinging by a hardware store for some blade oil for my chainsaw. My fruit trees need some tough love and it’s best done before the sap rises.

I’ve also promised to make a quick trip to Nevada to visit my parents, so here is a rough plan. I’ll get the truck taken care of Friday morning, then go find a station that can do my sniff test. Somewhere in that vicinity, I need to find any hardware store for my oil. I will leave directly from there for Nevada. That will kill Friday, but might salvage some other days for writing purposes.

Then there is the plot problem. I’ve been dwelling on it for weeks, but have an inkling of what I want. Nothing like a long car drive to help focus some of this. It isn’t like Lanternfish needs a new character, but I’m going to introduce one. My cons can keep a secret easily enough, but adding a third party to their game could introduce some extra stress. Stress is a good thing for characters.

Normally, in times like this I would switch stories. However, I’ve finished the draft of Lunar Boogie, and want to focus on Lanternfish. It’s probably crazy, because I lost two weeks that I could have been working on something else.

I also need to keep reading what I’ve already produced. That will help me sort out what cartoons I need to order for Lunar Boogie, and I need to put some thought into Lisa Burton promotional posters.

Lisa poses a different problem. How many pirate girls can I commission here? Same thing for Lizzie and the hat. It was simple enough to do when the first book came out, and even the second volumes. This deep into both series, it gets harder to come up with things.

I’ve had Lisa pose as Serang, then in Serang’s new armor. She’s posed as Lizzie the monster hunter, Lizzie the musician, etc. I’ll figure something out, of course, but it might be a few less than I usually do.

I’m looking forward to finishing the Lanternfish trilogy. I’m down to getting the last pieces in place before things really break loose. This is the middle slog, but there are some big things planned that I expect to almost write themselves.

On the bright side, I only committed to two books this year, and one of those is drafted. I have to keep things moving, because it’s already March, but I’m not in a bad position here.

I hope all of you are doing well, and not facing your own writing problems. I’ll sort mine out, then Lanternfish will move fast.

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Checking in

I really don’t have much to report this week. I wound up with company for yet another weekend. Our daughter only managed to stay one night, then had to go home to work a shift. It was nice getting to see her for a bit.

My work week was busy, and the next one is likely to be just as busy. This is fine by me, but I feel it sapping my energy on my days off. Maybe it’s an age thing. After our daughter left, I really didn’t try to do much of anything.

Old What’s Her Face and I had date night last night. We went to one of our favorite places and had prime rib. It’s also a substantial beer garden, so I got to sample some wonderful new things. It was nice getting out, just the two of us.

Beyond that, I managed to send out a critique chapter, and marked up one for another member of the group. Mine all came back, but I haven’t tried to address them yet.

I used my sourdough to start a loaf of bread, but it isn’t looking too good. It’s better if it can raise overnight. Sourdough is not quick rising yeast. I’m cooking it for supper, so if it’s too heavy, so be it.

Next weekend is a three day weekend for me, so maybe I’ll get some new words down then. This post was mostly for me to check in. There’s nothing too special to report, but I’m still kicking.

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