Well, here we are. We all know what this year was about. Political strife, a global pandemic, and seeing humanity at its worst, with glimpses of us at our best.
With the Christmas holiday, I kind of checked out. We went to our son’s and spent time with the grandkids. Our daughter was here for Christmas dinner, and we’ve been watching movies. I enjoyed myself, despite the restrictions we all face.
This is supposed to be about my annual assessment, so I’d better get on with it. Some of you are probably expecting some doom and gloom, and nobody will blame you, but that’s not how I see my year.
It all started out with such promise. 2020 was the Year of the Rat. I was born on the Year of the Rat. My first publication came out on Chinese New Year, and it features a couple of rats and the parade in San Francisco. It seemed like the table was all set.
Grinders did okay. It has some great reviews, but could use some more. Reviews seem to be harder to come by these days. I think it’s some of my best work and would like to get it to a few more readers.
Performance and reviews are kind of going to be the subject for a few paragraphs. I had an ambitious schedule and succeeded in publishing three books. The next two were continuations of series, which is something new to me.
HMS Lanternfish is book two of a trilogy. It sets up some things that will happen in the final volume, which I’m writing currently. I don’t know what it means, but HMS Lanternfish has less than half the number of reviews than Voyage of the Lanternfish.
I know Voyage has been available for a year longer, so that makes some sense. I also know that it’s a small dataset. Hard to draw conclusions with those kind of numbers.
Rumor has it that with trilogies sometimes the sales pick up after the whole trilogy is available. Some readers have been burned by authors who never finished the job. I understand that, but am working on the concluding tale.
Then there is the Ballad of Mrs. Molony. This is the third entry into the world of Lizzie and the hat. These have all been well received, but nowhere near as popular as the original volume. This is my open ended series, and I intend to keep it going for a few more years. I’m also currently working on volume four of this series.
It’s important to remember that reviews aren’t the same thing as sales. Most books sell more than what they garner in reviews and mine are no exception.
I also took most of the summer off. Three publications per year, for two consecutive years, got kind of draining.
I wanted to post at Entertaining Stories somewhere between two and three times per week. The year started off that way, but in the last month or so I’m lucky to get one weekend post put up.
I will blame some of this on Covid. My blog includes a slice of life along with the antics of Lisa Burton, or my word metrics updates. With Covid, there hasn’t been much of a life at all, let alone a slice worth sharing with the world.
Another excuse is also blog tour fatigue. When promoting three publications, there are a lot of blog tour posts. They fatigue me, and my readers. I keep every post unique, so they’re worth reading, and that is a bit draining.
The Story Empire blog is another pet project. I kept my end of the bargain and covered all my assigned days. I write this every year, but I’m wondering how much more I have to offer over there. I love helping others, and will keep chipping away at it. There comes a point where I have to rewrite and repackage some of my content. New writers are always showing up, so it kind of works. I already have my first January post written and scheduled.
To wrap all this up, I think 2020 was successful. There was a lot to overcome, and we’re all still dealing with it. However, I published three books, interacted with many of you, and met all my goals. In a different year, I might whine a little about low success, but in 2020 I’ll take it.
Once 2021 arrives, I’ll trot out a business plan and we can all converse about that.
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?”
“She became a roadie for him.”
“So what kind of monsters do you need?”
“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?”
“Don’t be a stranger. I enjoy our little conversations.”
I looked up from my desk at the writing cabin and decided to call it a day.
Lisa Burton walked into the office in full pirate regalia. “How did it work out? Did you have a good day?”
“It really was. 2700 words I didn’t have before. Add that to the 2000 from Wednesday and things are cooking along.”
“There’s a little coffee left before you leave. Do you want it?”
“Sure. I got through my con men on Wednesday and closed the loop on three concurrent stories. Everyone is on the page now. Today, James did what he had to as far as completing the repairs on Lanternfish. She’ll be ready to launch soon.”
“Don’t you think I’d look great in period costume breaking a magnum of champagne over her prow?”
“I’m sure you would.”
“Maybe you should write that one down.”
“It’s early in the story. There could be better things coming.”
“Then you don’t have to use it, but if you write it down you won’t forget.”
“You’re a computer. You remember for me.”
“You can bet I will. So, did the queen go along with James’s scheme?”
“Shh, that’s a spoiler. You can check out the draft later.”
“What are you planning tomorrow?”
“Don’t know. Serang still has some war to wage, but she ought to gather some clues along the way. I need her to discover some old secrets, too. I might wing some of that, or take a little time to think it through.”
“You mean you’d just waste a day to think?”
“Sure. This whole country could use more thinking before writing.”
Lisa smirked. “Uh huh?”
“If it doesn’t want to come together, I can always revisit Lizzie and the hat.”
“I kind of hate it when you do this to me. I never know how to dress for the day. Am I wearing cute performance outfits or being a pirate girl?”
“How about badass monster hunter outfits?”
“I know your style. It’s too soon for those, After about ten chapters you’ll get to them. So how should I dress tomorrow?”
“I don’t know. I have to go where the Muse leads me.”
“Fine. I’m going to put on some jeans and cowboy boots, add a Smithereens tee-shirt and fashion beret, then pull the Waltus armor on over the top. Maybe I’ll even buckle on a cutlass for good measure.”
“Do it and I’ll post a picture on my blog.”
“You wouldn’t dare.”
“Of course I would.” I pointed to my head. “You don’t understand how this brain works.”
“From what I can tell, your processor runs on coffee, pumpkin beer, cheese, and crackers.”
“Actually, that’s pretty accurate. All I can tell you is that I intend to write tomorrow. If it’s Lanternfish, it’s Serang’s turn again. If not, then I’ll start the next Hat book.”
“Maybe I’ll just wear one of my polka dot dresses and some nice heels. Those make me happy.”
“There you go. I like those, too.”
“Enough to write me into another book?”
“Probably, but I’m not going to. You got a story just last year. I’m going to try revisiting Serang and see how that goes. That’s as much commitment as I can give you.”
Today, we welcome back Charles Yallowitz to Entertaining Stories. Charles is a regular here, both as a participant and guest. He’s hosted me many times for my book releases, and I’m honored to return the favor. He’s here to tell us all about his newest publication. Make sure to use those sharing buttons, and even reblog the post to help him out. If you were ever a guest here, Charles shared your post, so make him feel welcome.
In the shadows of Windemere, fangs are sprouting from the least likely of maws.
News is spreading that wild beasts with vampiric natures have been attacking mortals and carrying off random victims. With the Dawn Fangs still a secret from mortal society, Clyde fears that these strange creatures will reveal his peoples’ existence before they are ready. Old enemies and trusted friends begin to disappear as the investigation goes deeper into a business that has been lurking in the shadows of Windemere for decades. Those who return are beholden to a new master whose cunning is matched only by her primal desires. As his allies disappear, Clyde is left with the one he trusts the most in all of the world to help him solve this mystery. Too bad Mab has her own secret that can cause more damage to Nytefall than any vampiric beast.
Is this how the Dawn Fangs will be revealed to Windemere?
Still need more to wet your appetite? Then enjoy this excerpt:
Titus shrugs the girl off his shoulders and grips his blades, but refuses to draw them to avoid causing a scene. The warriors around him are on edge from overhearing Lost’s words and seeing his reaction, but they follow his example and keep their weapons sheathed. The Vengeance Hounds know that it is only a matter of time before the mortals with weaker wills lose control and drive the others into panic. They can hear the rumors of a deadly beast stalking the hunting party ripple through the crowd, each telling more gruesome and bone-chilling than the previous version. Several warriors ignore the warnings of their companions and draw their weapons, but keep them out of sight. Two of the casters begin to chant, which is revealed by the sparkle of magic on their lips. One by one, the lines of warriors stop walking and assume various defensive formations. Frustrated by the collapse of her army, the priestess turns around and tries to assure everyone that they are safe. Standing in the middle of the blossoming chaos, the Vengeance Hounds can only watch as the woman loses her temper and shouts at the archers who were supposed to maintain control.
The warriors go silent when a booming roar erupts from above and a large shadow passes over the area. With a gurgling scream, the priestess collapses in a heap and stares unblinking at the sky. The archers move away from the drooling woman, whose breathing has stopped as if she has been instantly turned off. Landing in front of the hunting party, a crimson-scaled Verenstone Dragon unfurls its muscular tails with one to each side and the other arching over its reptilian head. The thick ridge of black hair going down its back rustles and shivers in the breeze, which heats up as the monster bellows once more. Curled against its side are wings composed entirely of blue flame that licks at the trampled grass, but they are not hot enough to ignite the emerald blades. Leaning forward, the terrifying predator sniffs at the braindead priestess and chuckles before swallowing the body whole. In the brief moment that its mouth is open wide, the Vengeance Hounds notice that two of its teeth are changing as if they are stretching out of the gums. The plaque-covered ivory is curved in a way that makes it clear that they are fangs and the beast is in desperate need of a fresh meal. Its eyes scan the mortals and stop on the three Dawn Fangs for a moment, but it is enough to tell them that the cunning creature recognizes their true nature.
“A vampiric dragon,” Titus mutters under his breath.
Charles Yallowitz was born and raised on Long Island, NY, but he has spent most of his life wandering his own imagination in a blissful haze. Occasionally, he would return from this world for the necessities such as food, showers, and Saturday morning cartoons. One day he returned from his imagination and decided he would share his stories with the world. After spending many years fiddling with his thoughts and notebooks, he decided that it was time to follow his dream of being a fantasy author. So, locked within the house with only pizza and seltzer to sustain him, Charles brings you tales from the world of Windemere. He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you and drawing you into a world of magic.
Today was a pretty good flex day. I decided to do my word searches on Mrs. Molony. As part of The Hat series, they’re smaller books and it didn’t take long at all. Took longer to whine about it than to do it.
Based upon word searches, I never had to change a thing. My critique group has eagle eyes. I also took on a complete read through, and did reword a couple of sections. This is where the month away really helps. About the only thing I didn’t do was make a cover page and copyright data.
Imagine my excitement when the cover for Mrs. Molony showed up in my mailbox today. It turned out really good, but sharing it right now might be counter productive. My immediate push will be for book two of the Lanternfish trilogy.
Lanternfish is in the hands of my formatter. I figure it will be ready to publish in a week. Might even get to it this coming weekend. Then I’ll have to shift into promo mode and try to spread the word.
I also placed an order for artwork to accompany Mrs. Molony. We’re going to start off with the cartoon graphics that go inside the body of the text. These just add to the corniness of these tales. After that, I’ll get Sean started on a couple of Lisa Burton posters to promote with.
All in all, it was a productive day. It’s nice to move ahead on Mrs. Molony because I’ll be knee deep in Lanternfish promotion real soon. Hope all of you had a good Monday. Back to work for me tomorrow.
It wasn’t part of my long term plans, but I’m going to take a kind of break. This doesn’t mean I’m not writing, It just means I won’t be drafting new stories right now.
This morning I finished the draft for The Ballad of Mrs. Molony. I’m debating a couple more paragraphs, but don’t know if they’re necessary.
This story involves Lizzie and the hat in pursuit of a pair of rodeo cowboys. These guys are now members of the undead. This allows the band, Lizzie and the Pythons, to explore country music as part of catching the bad guys. Made for some cool outfits and hat styles, too.
Lizzie has a small melt-down over the music. At the end she returns to more familiar ground. I could add a couple of paragraphs to show how they weave in some country songs without compromising what they like. Or I could leave it out.
I’m calling it finished, regardless of what I decide. I need to work up some blog ideas for the books, work with my cover artist, decide if I’m spending any promo money, but I doubt it. Think about formatting. Oh yeah, I’m going to need some of those silly graphics to put in Mrs. Molony so as to keep with the theme.
I’m going to be storyboarding, too. The final Lanternfish is going to require a storyboard. I have two novels full of information that I have to stay faithful to. There are a bunch of loose ideas for the finale. A board helps me mold all that into a decent story.
I think next year’s Hat story could benefit from a storyboard, too. I want this one to be more grim with an undertone of sadness, while still keeping the humor going. Not an easy task. It’s my intention to break Lizzie mentally toward the end of the next one. That will lead into another one that has a lot going on including a revisit with the witching community.
Aside from that, I have some stand alone novels that are already in the early phases of storyboards. I should probably hold off on these until Lanternfish is complete.
There’s also reading. I haven’t taken a serious reading break for a long time and there is a lot I want to catch up on. I also have a bit of a blog makeover in mind.
Honestly, if I can get Lanternfish out this summer, then Mrs. Molony for the Halloween season, I will have met my yearly goals. If I don’t write another word this year, I’m in pretty good shape.
Just because I’m not working on a draft does not mean I’m not working. We’re going camping this weekend. I’ll probably do some reading while I’m up there.
It’s about 10:00 a.m. as I start this post. I just finished the draft of HMS Lanternfish. It’s one hell-of-a-lot bigger than I wanted it to be, but it’s all good stuff.
This is where I start contemplating the old phrase, “Kill your darlings.” It’s an important concept in fiction. Today isn’t the day for that. Today is the day to savor the moment and not dive into something I’m not ready for.
One of the things that occurs to me right now is that every stop the ship made in this adventure involves something important. Every stop does something to advance the story in one way or another. If I start eliminating chapters, characters, or scenes, the story will lose something. If I eliminate some of the monsters and such, it will change the world Lanternfish is set in.
Honestly, in science fiction or fantasy, 120K word volumes are common enough. I didn’t hit that watermark, but I’m not far off.
Only a few of you will know what I’m talking about here, but you can get it from context. If I eliminate Fēngbào, the bringer of storms, or the Omcrom, the story will lose something. Besides, I have a cool Lisa Burton poster on order that involves Lisa vs the Omcrom.
The critique and editing phases always tend to reduce words to a degree, so the count will go down in a small way.
I might eliminate some characters, but who? There are some that were barely used in this volume, but will have a bigger role to play in the final book.
This is why I’m not doing it today. If I send a chapter per week to my crit group, it will take weeks for them to see the end. I have some specific work to do after that, then I always read from start to finish one more time. At this pace, I’ll be lucky to have it out by August.
Somewhere in there, I need to finish The Ballad of Mrs. Molony, too. That ought to clear my head for the Lanternfish read. My hope now is to have Lanternfish out in time that it doesn’t interfere with releasing Mrs. Molony for the Halloween season.
I need to be content today. Show a bit of patience, then turn my attention to the critiques I received over the weekend. I also have a submission to mark up for a partner. Back to the regular grind, tomorrow.
I admit it isn’t my best writing day, but it really shouldn’t have been a writing day at all.
I had some critiques back and my only goal was to work through those. Old What’s Her Face is off today, so I went into my home office for the sole purpose of doing that.
I’m also trying to get more organized. It’s easier to send out my submissions as whole chapters. It also makes those submissions easier to understand because they are chapters. Prior to this, I used a word count to send out submissions. With this goal in mind, I wanted to get to the end of a chapter.
I don’t hit the backup story as hard as Lanternfish right now, but it feels nice to have everything on an even keel. Lanternfish has 32 chapters completed. The Ballad of Mrs. Molony has 7.
They’re different genres, and stories about Lizzie and The Hat are short on purpose. Lanternfish kind of fits the mold of epic fantasy, so it is longer. The spread between these genres could misrepresent the proportions of giving you simple chapters alone. Also, Lanternfish is sailing toward the end, while Mrs. Molony is somewhere in the middle.
So, my 650 words kind of brings my writing life into balance. It’s a small thing, but it’s good until I mess it up again. I’ll probably mess it up this evening.
Messing it up involves the fact that they called my wife in for an extra shift. She’ll go to bed about 6:00, then report for work at midnight. I’ve been staying up when this happens unless it is one of my work nights. It’s just easier on her that way.
I have an entire evening to myself. I may break down and look for an old movie, but I’ll probably work on one of my stories. I’d like to get Lanternfish across the ocean and right up to the face of the action.
I’ve been dealing with scenarios that require certain characters to be in two places at once. I’ve been thinking about them for months, and writing it is going to be how I solve the problems. Some of my scenarios will have to fall by the wayside. After I commit to where they will be, that will build the fences for how the rest of the tale shapes up.
I also need to keep planting some things as they cross the last ocean. These can payoff in the final book somewhere. Tonight could be the night for some of that.
Tomorrow will probably be a strange day. I have no idea what my wife will expect. Sometimes she wants to sleep, and I try to be quiet. Other times she wants to stay up so she doesn’t get jet lagged or whatever you might call it. I’m not making any plans for tomorrow, and will take it as it comes.
It doesn’t sound all that productive, but it was good stuff to get done. How is your weekend shaping up?
Welcome to another edition of Lisa Burton Radio. I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl, and I’m excited to be on the air in this time of national crisis.
Many of us are sequestered away right now, and that leaves room for a bit of reflection. I think we can all form an idea of what that’s like. Which brings me to my special guest today. “Welcome to the show, Jonah.”
“Hi, Lisa. Thanks for inviting me.”
“My bio says you’re alone on an island somewhere. To be honest, that sounds like a dream come true to many people. What can you tell us about that?”
“Oh, yeah, dream come true. Let me tell you about that. It’s anything but a paradise. The whole island is covered with tangled brush with thorns and stinging nettles. And that doesn’t even include the poisonous flowers that burn the skin horribly. But the monsters that inhabit this godforsaken place are the worse. They have long red fangs that glow and claws like that of a giant eagle. They threaten me at every turn. On top of the horrific dangers, the only food I can scrounge to eat is muddy fish and bugs.”
“I suppose most of us don’t think about the downside of being stranded like that. In our minds it’s all sunny beaches and coconut drinks. How did you wind up in such a place?”
“I lived on the streets for many years once I escaped from the orphanage. The city was huge, but I had a turf and controlled it with iron fists. Everyone who knew me feared the Wrath of Jonah. But, then I got arrested and convicted of my crimes. They gave me a choice. I could either be locked in a cement box beneath the ground or be exiled to this island. I chose the island. In hindsight, imprisonment might have been easier. Let me tell you more about the creatures. I was terrified of them at first. But I soon discovered a secret. You see, when they dropped me off on this island, they gave me a dagger and a few meager supplies. After the creatures had me cornered, and I couldn’t run anymore, I turned and prepared to die. I screamed at the top of my lungs and lunged toward them with the dagger drawn hoping I could take out at least one of them. To my surprise, they backed down and slunk back into the brush. After that, I try to keep my dagger handy at all times.
“But let me tell you about something else that just happened. I’ve been keeping track of the days I’ve been on this island for thirty-one days. Just this morning, I awoke to a loud thud outside my hut. Imagine my surprise when I poked my head out and found a package. I looked all around and could not see anyone or any means of it getting there.”
“Oh my God, someone has to be watching you. Don’t leave us hanging here, what was in the box?”
“Yeah, pretty creepy, huh? It was a burlap wrapped package and inside I was thrilled first of all, to find a package of dried Buffalo. I couldn’t wait to tear into that. It was really good. Then there were a few hygiene items, two books, a pencil and a note. One of the books was “The Four Agreements” and the other was a blank journal. Let me read you the note because it’s very puzzling. ‘There is only one way off this island. You must examine yourself, face your truths and make peace with your demons.’ Now, what do you make of that?”
“This sounds like one of those escape rooms. You know, where people pay money to solve the puzzle so they can escape. It’s fun.”
“Nothing fun about this. And, there’s more and perhaps the strangest of all. I heard footsteps outside my hut and was sure my imagination had gotten in overdrive. After all, I was alone and hadn’t seen any sign of another human since they dropped me off. But, then I heard it again and lunged out of my hut prepared to fight. Imagine my surprise when I saw a young boy around twelve standing there.”
“You mean there’s someone else stranded there, too? That was a lucky stroke.”
“Well, that’s just it. Titus isn’t stranded. He tells me he lives on the other side of the island where everything is lush and beautiful, but when he tried to take me through the portal to his home, legions of green slimy snakes blocked my way. He seems to be able to come and go, but I am not allowed to follow. So, he brings me fresh fruits and vegetables from his place. You can’t imagine how amazing that is. But, there’s something strange about this kid. He has some kind of magic. Webbing grows between his long fingers and he has luminescent green eyes that glow in a strange way. But, he’s a good kid and he’s helping me in lots of ways. He told me that his mother died, and his father disappeared. It seems that his father is a Wizard. When he tried to tell me about his father, a huge storm blew in and totally destroyed my hut. I grabbed my stuff and threw it into a duffel bag and pulled Titus along with me. He was in some kind of a trance. Finally, he snapped out of it and held a huge Amethyst Crystal up to his forehead and chanted some words. The storm immediately stopped.”
“That’s terrible, but at least you had each other to get through it all.”
“I suppose so. For the first time in my life, I felt the urge to protect someone other than myself. So, we made our way back to where my hut had been and to my surprise, there stood in its place a bigger and sturdier built shelter. And there is another package lying beside the door. Inside this package was another book, ‘The Dark Side of the Light Chasers,’ and another note that simply said, ‘Because you cared for someone other than yourself.’ The other weird part about the whole thing is that the ground that was covered in torrential rain a few minutes earlier was hard as a rock and dry. So, now I’m working my way through this book. Titus comes and goes, and I never know when he will appear, but we’ve grown close. I can’t imagine how all of this is going to end, but for the first time since I arrived here, I don’t scan the horizon every day for a boat coming to take me back home.”
“Oh, Jonah, this sounds like some kind of weird rehabilitation program to me. Dangerous and with no defined ending, but the reward kind of feels like a positive step. I hope you complete the program and can get back to your loved ones soon.”
“I have no loved ones to return to, Lisa. My mom was killed when I was very young. When I think about going back to my old turf, I know that I can’t be the same way I was before.”
“ So sorry to hear about your mother. I know I speak for all of our listeners today in wishing you the best of luck escaping from the island. Any last thoughts before we go off the air?”
“Maybe I don’t even want to go back to the mainland anymore. As long as Titus is here and my living conditions are better, I can be content. But I crave the magic that Titus has. Who knows? One day, he may be allowed to teach it to me. I’d like that. In the meantime, I’m going to make the best of the situation.”
“You can read all about Jonah and Titus in the book, Jonah, by Jan Sikes. I’ll post all the pertinents on the website after I go off the air.
“Don’t forget to use those sharing buttons today. I know Jan and Jonah would do it for you, when your character appears on the next Lisa Burton Radio.”
Fantasy meets reality when a young man is forced to choose his punishment for crimes committed. Jonah must decide between imprisonment in a concrete box beneath the earth or be exiled to a deserted, barren island. He chooses the island, but nothing can prepare him for the deadly creatures, and poisonous plants at every turn. Then there’s the maddening isolation that drives him to the brink of insanity. There is only one way off this island and it’s more difficult than anything he’s ever imagined. It’s much easier to face mortal danger than the demons within. Will he find redemption or another unexpected offer?
Jan Sikes openly admits that she never set out in life to be an author. But she had a story to tell. Not just any story, but a true story that rivals any fiction creation. You simply can’t make this stuff up. It all happened. She chose to create fictitious characters to tell the story through, and they bring the intricately woven tale to life in an entertaining way.
She released a series of music CDs to accompany the four biographical fiction books and then published a book of poetry and art to bring the story full circle.
And now that the story is told, this author can’t find a way to put down the pen. She continues to write fiction and has published many short stories with a series of novels waiting in the wings
I spent yesterday clearing my plate of busy work associated with promoting Grinders. This worked out well, and other than a few tweets, I don’t have much to do on that front.
I also addressed the critiques for both stories, so that left me free to write. I opened the HMS Lanternfish manuscript and read my last chapter. After that it was off to the races.
I answered some questions about a ghostly encounter Mule and a couple of the other officers had. Since this is pseudo Asia, there are some awesome ghost stories to pirate from. I also set Mule up to have another one at a later time. I don’t know if it will happen in this book or in the next one, but this book seems more appropriate. It would be pretty easy to do either way.
A lot of research went into the world of Giapon. Not only ghost stories, but something cool called a turtle boat, too. James and friends are stuck with three ships now, which prevents his ability to leap magically ahead. He’s stuck sailing the old fashioned way. Obviously, I’ll free him to maneuver later on, but for now, this suits the story.
Perhaps the most fun part was putting Serang in charge of the turtle boat and all it’s inhabitants. These aren’t people who are glad to see her, but I like the way she handled herself. She also promoted herself, and General Serang is going to have some interesting adventures ahead of her.
I still need to iron out some details, then they’re going to be leaving Giapon. Other details can be worked out at sea. I had to stop because the general needs to assess her army and appoint officers. This is going to require me to do some research into names, and come up with a bunch of new characters. (As if Lanternfish needed more characters.)
I need to do a flashback to Serang’s past, but I can manage that at sea as they head north.
All this will be worth it when they get back to the actual war, and even the land war. I also need to come up with some fantasy ideas for arctic exploration, because that’s where they’re headed next. I’m trying to include some fantasy elements at every stop. I have the weird creatures on the floating island, the ghosts of Giapon, and I want to keep that coming.
I still need to work in a little surprise I have planned for James, the captain. This is going to be a fun plant that I can do many things with later.
I actually checked my numbers, because it felt pretty good. Today it came to 3800 new words. That’s a pretty great day by my standards. Yeah it probably needs some work, but it exists to be fixed now.