Tag Archives: family

Quite the day, indeed

This was supposed to be the day our daughter moved into her solo apartment. She took a leave of absence when she lost her old apartment, and we spent a month setting this up and getting her a new place.

The U-Haul was full to overflowing, overflow meaning my pickup. I had the back seats, passenger seat, and truck bed completely full. Old What’s Her Face even bought her a brand new couch from the damaged and flawed room, and all it needed was legs. Easy to obtain from Amazon.

When we got to the basement apartment, I drove right to it, my wife and daughter missed the freeway exit and had to find a place to turn around. Eventually, we all arrived and spent hours lugging things downstairs. This includes a bunch of cookware and other heavy items, like the hand-me-down king sized bed.

Time for the couch. The door opened onto a landing, requiring an immediate left and stairs. We tried vertically to make the turn, but the couch was too long. We managed to booger up the fabric, the door frame, and the sheet rock, but the couch was never going to fit.

We got close, if it were only three feet shorter we would have nailed it. This left us with a unique problem.

This couch is straight from the store. They said they would take it back, but we were in Twin Falls and the store is in Boise. We had to turn the U-Haul in.

This meant shoehorning the frigging thing into my pickup with the tailgate down. We didn’t have any tie-downs, but knew someone who did.

Old What’s Her Face looked up from her phone. “100% chance of rain for the afternoon.”

Now, Idaho hasn’t had any realistic precipitation for six months. What are the odds?

Turns out the U-Haul store sells tarps and bungee chords. Just add those to the bill.

We decided it would only sprinkle at best and if it looked serious we could pull over and tarp it then.

See, the flaw in the plan was two old fat people would be the only ones available if the need arose. We pulled over just outside Twin in a hurricane.

Two people who love each other very much didn’t look quite like it as the fluorescent orange tarp flapped around our heads, and rain ran down our necks. Thankfully, the wind carried most of our language away as we tried to double up bungee chords to hold the damned thing in place.

As soon as we pulled back on the Interstate it stopped raining. Freeway speed all the way to Boise.

A huge thunderstorm formed ahead of us, and we estimated our chances of avoiding it as zero.

Sure enough, as we hit the edge of Boise it came down in a way that made the early part look like child’s play. It came down in buckets as we drove through town and wove our way home. We got drenched as we unloaded the stipulated thing in our garage. The couch was soaked, but only on one end.

That sounds promising, but it really isn’t. Some kind of moldy couch doesn’t present itself as brand-frigging-new anymore. Also, as soon as we got into the garage for the night, the rain stopped.

And that was our day. Three vehicles went to Twin Falls and one came home. Our daughter is there assembling furniture and cleaning up what turned out to be a filthy mess.

I feel like I’m going to die right now. Stairs were never my friends, but in my 60s it’s so much worse.

On the other hand, I came up with some cool scenarios and a couple of characters that would fit right into the Hat universe. Of course, I’m not writing that right now, so will need to make some notes or index cards tomorrow.

Oh, and I saw a bald eagle. If this is the kind of luck they’re starting to bring me, they can stay the hell away.

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My flex day

I started off kind of slow today. Got a chance to sleep in and I took it. This means I was probably less productive than I could have been, but I’m ahead of the game right now.

Let’s face it, I could publish another Hat story tomorrow. It’s a cool position to be in, and I’d like to sustain it for a while. Less pressure is nice for a change.

I still managed to break the 80K word mark on my WIP. That makes it a novel in my mind. I’m going to ignore the old rules about making science fiction a bit longer. These are going to be geared more to a modern audience, and since it’s a trilogy, there will be more of the galaxy to cover.

Percy the Space Chimp has one more big event in this book, then it’s finished. I left them hanging out at their favorite backwater planet and can pick the story back up this weekend.

Jackson the cat decided to help me today. He seems to want to sleep either in my lap or on my keyboard. I think he’s uber-cute, but I could use a break once in a while.

Jackson will be going away soon. Our daughter finally found an apartment she can afford. It’s in a different city than her job, so she’s got a long commute ahead of her from now on. I weep for the plight of our young people. America doesn’t pay enough for them to make ends meet today, and rentals are so expensive now. Still, she gets to keep the job that she loves, and that makes me happy. I’ll miss having her around.

The blog tour for Good Liniment has finally ended. (I hear a small cheer across the universe.) It’s not enough to write a good story today. You have to do something to spread the word, and the word has been spread. We had some fun topics and every post was unique. Sold a few books, too, so that’s a bonus.

I’ve seen some reviews for both Good Liniment and Wreck of the Lanternfish lately. Remember, those are both still linked in my sidebar. Any author appreciates reviews, so if you read one of them I would be grateful for a few minutes of your time to share your thoughts.

Lanternfish needs to be read in order since it’s a trilogy. Good Liniment is a stand alone title in The Hat Series, and all of them can be read out of order.

In other news, I spent a couple hours reading a book I’m really enjoying, but it requires a lot of focus. It’s a good tale, so I’m sticking with it. It’s just hard to read in some sections.

I also managed to take a short nap this afternoon. This is something I’ve grown more insistent on whenever I’m off. They rarely surpass 30 minutes, but make me feel so good. Judge me if you want, but I kind of like them.

Back to work tomorrow.

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A different weekend

I never cracked open my WIP one time this weekend. This is because I had company. My brother and mother came for a visit. This is the first time I’ve seen them since Dad passed, and it was wonderful.

Our daughter is home now, too, so she got to see grandma. These kind of days are getting more and more rare. Having so many adults available at one time, from three different cities, I feel like a bit of luck was involved.

Mom wanted to go to the mall, so my brother and I left them to it. We headed for Old Chicago and drank beer. We limited ourselves to appetizers, because we all planned to go to supper later. Catching up with him was one of the weekend highlights.

Supper was weird. We went to The Cheesecake Factory, and it was not like I’m used to. We were told to expect an hour & forty-five minute wait. Looking around the lobby, we assumed it wouldn’t be nearly that long. We were wrong.

Once we finally got inside, a junior high school aged girl led us to our booth in a virtually empty restaurant. Food was wonderful, as was the company. Service was dismal.

We put two & two together. They don’t have enough staff for their normal weekend crowd. Someone brought their daughter in to help, and she did a good job. It made for a long night, but the company was good.

Everyone has gone back home now. This old introvert is soaking in the silence like a battery takes on a charge. Maybe I’ll be ready for the work week tomorrow.

It was a great weekend, and I don’t regret missing out on writing, researching, or any of the rest. I have one finished MS that I can release at any time. I’ll probably hold it back for October. This means I’m ahead of the game, so if opportunities come along I can take them and not beat myself up for it.

Who knows, maybe I’ll even run to Nevada and visit them sometime this summer.

Hope all of you had great weekends.

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Ugh!

I had high hopes for today. It’s a Friday flex day and that’s usually when I make the pixels fly. Best laid plans, and all that.

Life has changed with our daughter moving home. I’ve never put her off just so I can write, and never will. When she wants to chat, I pull up stakes and try to be present in the moment. Fathers and daughters, what are you going to do?

Jackson, her cat is another matter. He was kind of hiding out and checking all the corners for a couple of days. He’s content now and quite friendly. He decided to camp in my lap, which doesn’t make for good word count. He’s so cute, I couldn’t say no.

Frankie decided she was jealous and had to get up here, too.

Now they’ve moved on, and Otto is up here with me. He’s a veteran and sits off to the side, so I can at least type. Thus, the reason why I’m blogging. Even though he’s one big hunk of bulldog.

I won’t complain too loud. I could have gone in the other room, but I enjoy the company to a degree. I might have to do that tomorrow or the next day. Depends on how the conversations go.

Grand total of about one page before I gave up completely. I know it’s one more page than I had before, and have often shared that thought with others. In my case, as a weekend warrior, it can also be looked at as one page this week. That doesn’t make it look all that special.

Still, daughters, bulldogs, and kitties have value, too. There will be hours somewhere, so I’m going to enjoy the other things for now.

I’m trying to limit my blog tour to twice per week, and I’ve shared here as they post. I have new content out there if you’re following along. I’ve moved some books and the first couple of posts were quite successful. I hope it holds up in the coming weeks.

Talk to you later. Maybe I’ll have some decent word metrics tomorrow.

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That was unexpected

Let’s start with the good stuff and updates. I’m seeing some sales for Good Liniment, and I hope everyone is enjoying it. There are even some pages read for Wreck of the Lanternfish. Glad I figured out it wasn’t on Kindle Unlimited. Probably cost me some sales, but it works now.

Whatever disgusting plague I had seems to be over now. I ate the equivalent of one meal over a period of a week, just so I could get up every morning to see how I felt before calling in sick. On Friday, I made it to work, but didn’t accomplish much beyond the backlog of crap. Forge ahead on Monday.

I even skipped my corned beef in exchange for two of the golf ball sized red potatoes that are part of the meal. Once I got home Friday night, I remedied that. Rumor is corned beef hash for breakfast tomorrow.

I spent a little time updating my blog. The new cover is linked in the sidebar now. I finally got it onto Goodreads, too. Just all those fiddly things that have to get finished.

I even managed to spend some time with Percy the Space Chimp today. I didn’t keep track, but it was slow going. No more than 1000 words or so. Finished a chapter at least.

That was when it was time to address the new problems. Roommate issues in Sun Valley caused our daughter to take a leave of absence, then move back to Boise. We rented her a U-Haul, then spent the afternoon unloading it here and lugging things upstairs. I also have some of her crap in my office, which is going to get more use with more people here. I left myself a path to my chair and put my headphones on charge. I’m having water now, and a preemptive Aleve.

I’ve been calendaring and sending out blog tour posts sporadically. I can only keep up with about two per week. My days of hitting multiple sites per day, or five days per week are over. I’ll keep pecking away at that, but I have all my volunteers lined up.

Our daughter’s plan is to look for a place back in her area and keep her job. Real estate in Sun Valley is ridiculous, so that dream might die hard. Fingers crossed for her, but there are a lot of jobs around here that pay as much or more than she currently makes. Some of them are even at our airport.

Jackson the cat is back, and I kind of like him.

Tomorrow is likely to be busy and noisy around here, so I don’t think much more will get done on the author front. Hope all of you have having fun somewhere, or being productive as you choose.

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A three day weekend

It all started off knowing we had company coming for the weekend. I planned on not writing a single word. My in-laws brought their German Shorthair puppy with them.

Jagger is cute, but he’s not a tiny puppy any more. He’s big, but still thinks he’s a puppy. He never stops moving. He’s up, he’s down, he’s here, he’s there. He jumps up, makes you spill things, and even tries to pull things off the wall.

Call me crazy, but I kind of like him. The place was a madhouse, but if the bulldogs can handle it, so can I.

We went to dinner one night, but it was pretty mediocre compared to most of the places we go. We also watched movies. Friday night, I chose one called “Don’t Look Up.” I loved it. It’s full of dark snarky humor about the world we live in during a natural disaster. It has a top shelf cast, too.

My brother-in-law wanted to watch “The Last Duel,” Saturday night. I suggest you don’t waste your time. It has some moments, but I just didn’t feel it. Some of this has to do with the way the story unfolded. Open en media res, then tell the same story three different times from three points of view to get back to where we opened.

Old What’s Her Face had to go in at midnight last night. My MO on these nights is to stay up so she can sleep as much as possible. I started “The Eternals” before she turned in, then turned the television off after the film ended.

It wasn’t horrible, but I expected more from that cast. It was also hard to get over the “gotta catch ’em all” mentality. It was so inclusive that it felt like Marvel was shoving it down my throat.

After the movie, I had hours left with nothing to do. I opened my space opera and started reviewing. I’d worked myself to a point that I have to describe so some of you will get the problem.

I can’t make this tale into Lanternfish in space. There’s no piracy, and staying away from everyone is part of this spy mission. That means, I’ve milked space travel about as much as I can between the locations. In Lanternfish I could toss in a sea monster or a pirate battle. Space is big and empty.

My crew was at the turning point, but getting them from point to point had be minimized to a degree. I’d been stewing over this for weeks, but finally just wrote it. I like the way it turned out, and they discovered a much bigger problem than their tiny lives would have cared about.

I even moved on to how they’re going to deliver the news about what they discovered, because they invaded enemy territory to find this out. They had to shoot their way out, so it’s really an act of war. Except, they aren’t officially with any government. That won’t stop the bad guys from putting their propaganda department on it and making the good side look like the aggressors.

What I’m liking is all the problems my crew created while trying to do something both good and profitable. They may have to answer for some things now. That’s good tension, and I can use it as I move on. They could even have some enemies among the good guys.

I have a large section ahead where a kind of mentor can give them some focus and possibly put them to more productive work. They have a unique ship like nothing else in the galaxy. It could be used for more covert missions, but it’s in private ownership because of the laws of salvage.

This ship was simply missing for a hundred years, and was a relic of a previous war. My people found it and put it to good use. It’s theirs. My as-yet-to-appear mentor is a different kind of creature, and was present for this ship’s creation. He’s going to have some sympathy for my main characters.

Anything involving answering for crimes, the mentor, and what value their information might have is something for another writing session.

I failed to keep track, but it feels like about 8000 words to me. It was a great session. This particular tale is at 44K words right now. It’s a concern making word count without some things happening between locations, but I’m working on it.

Not too bad for a bonus I didn’t expect. Hope all of you had great weekends, too.

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My 2021 Assessment

This is an annual event here at Entertaining Stories. Before writing this, I read back through the last few years of assessments, along with business plans for coming years. What surprised me is how positive and professional they came across. That isn’t the case this year.

2021 can…

Most of this involves things in my personal life that I really can’t post about. Old What’s Her Face and I each had our own health scares this year. Hers is fine, but mine remains a bit of an unknown. I have a January appointment for follow up that I may, or may not, keep. There have been major changes in the workplace, and my father passed away on December 2nd. Recently, our grandson developed a major problem that isn’t completely solved yet. This stuff hits hard.

Most of this has been a lingering problem for the last two years. It all seemed to merge at once, kind of like one of those gigantic freeway crashes we see on the news every couple of years. There is nothing I can do about most of it, so I have to compartmentalize and deal with it as best I can.

Having said that, this used to be a writing blog, and this is a business assessment. My plan said I would only release two books in 2021, and I hit that goal. Both Lunar Boogie and Wreck of the Lanternfish are available right now. Lanternfish is still in the throes of a more demure blog tour as I write this.

Looks like this year was all about series work. I’m kind of proud of that, and frightened at the same time. I miss my stand-alone stories, and want to try writing another one of those eventually.

Publishing two, instead of three, gave me more time to experiment with other things. This was a 2021 goal and I achieved that, too. First came a summertime experiment involving two stand-alone titles; Grinders and Serang. Confession, Serang ties right into the Lanternfish trilogy.

This all stemmed from an invitation to appear on Fresh Ink Group’s blog talk radio program. I really didn’t do a lot of promo around this, but it worked out fairly well. I gave away a ton of free books, but only Serang seemed to gain reviews after the fact.

This allowed me to fine tune my plan. When October came around, I decided there are four volumes in The Hat Series. There were four weeks in the month, and a new plan got launched. I promoted each volume for a week, and ran free days for two of them. This worked even better.

I moved another ton of free books, but this time there was someplace else for readers to go. To be honest, I’m still seeing sales from the October push. It seems the crack-dealer method still has some life in it. A freebie leads to purchasing additional stories. I also combined my free days with a push by The Fussy Librarian. I can see the difference, and will probably use them again.

One of the other things I did was post more at the outer fringes of my circle. Let’s face it, my inner circle already hosted me when each volume was originally released. Since we tend to follow the same people, blog tours can become like listening to a broken record. (Wow, is that a dated statement these days.)

One of the things I noticed, and my inner circle confirmed, is that Amazon’s Pages Read seem to be where all the action is. It seems to have surpassed my actual sales, but Amazon pays me and the readers are getting to read for free. I don’t know what this means, or how to use it, but it’s an interesting observation. Maybe I can find a way to milk this like a prize cow.

With two book releases, and two month-long promo tours, there was a lot of promo. Every tour post was unique, so I was blogging, but it was all hosted elsewhere.

This final bit of December promo comes with an observation. The release of Wreck of the Lanternfish is showing an equal volume of sales for the previous volumes in the series. Could this signal that trilogies are more of a sweet spot than I anticipated? Are there a larger group that won’t start a series until they know it’s complete?

I managed to keep up with my Story Empire responsibilities, and feel like they were successful posts. Entertaining Stories suffered the most. I love this site, and want to stay in touch with everyone here. With all the life issues (particularly the life issues), combined with the extra promo, something had to give.

To be honest, I want to spend more time at the Writing Cabin and maybe even let the Research Sirens steal me away for a while. Until some things settle down, that isn’t realistic.

I have been less than creative for the last six months, but have dabbled with a side project. I don’t want to push anywhere until my personal life settles down. I’m taking life one day at a time right now.

I could be alone here, but 2020 was a better year for me. I don’t ever want to see another one like 2021.

Talk to me in the comments. I really love you guys and would like to get back to more regular interaction here.

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Checking in

I’m in Nevada this weekend. My daughter and I drove down Friday night.

Dad is on hospice care, so this might actually be the last visit with him. It’s kind of stressful, to say the least. He sleeps a lot, so there are moments to visit with my brother and mother.

Sometime during one of those quiet moments, I hacked out one more blog tour promo post. I have a few to go, and don’t know when I’ll get to write them. I swear, ‘Wreck of the Lanternfish’ will come out in 2021. Watch this space.

Tonight, my brother brought out a bottle of Colonel E. H. Taylor small batch whiskey. It really helps to digest the situation I find myself in.

My daughter got away for an hour and visited her aunt and uncle. They have a new house we’ve never seen, but I stayed here. They also have a German shorthair puppy she said is is uber-cute.

Please forgive my lack of posts. There is a lot going on in my life right now. If I had my druthers, I’d be writing, blogging, and publishing.

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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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