I’m still editing. It’s mostly boring work, but I am seeing things that need repair. I find editing tedious, and that means it doesn’t make good blog fodder either. I’ll suffice to say all three manuscripts are up to chapter 11, then leave it there.
Today, I used my headphone with some YouTube playlists. I really like this option, but the advertisements are a nightmare. There are probably some without ads, but I haven’t been lucky enough to find them. I have one that’s instrumental blues, one that’s called samurai warrior music, and one I’ve been saving. It’s all the spaghetti western music by Ennio Morricone. I’m open to hints as to where I can find ad-free versions of long playlists. I don’t mind one up front, or even the occasional peppering. One (in the middle) of every song is too much.
One thing I never mention is that I research constantly. Some things make it to my storyboards, others are simply notes to tuck away.
I learned something about LIDAR. This is kind of like radar, but it’s been used to discover lost civilizations in the rain forest and other places. I have a story way in the future that will need this information.
I need a name for a group of celebrity ghost hunters. They’re going to be obstacles for Lizzie and the hat sometime this Spring. I’m having no luck, but the best I came up with is The Four Clairs. (Meaning Clairvoyance, clairaudience, clairsentience, and claircognizance.) I’m not thrilled with it, but might run with it.
Technetium is another discovery. It’s a radioactive, rare earth, material. I doubt it’s truly dangerous, but I can still write it that way. My idea involves aliens, and it’s way in the future. This one only has a sheet of notes. There isn’t even a storyboard yet, but I think there will be. I like the ideas I’m getting for this one.
I’ve also been looking up images of Alfred E. Neuman. It’s for a gag in one of the upcoming hat stories. Even some of the humor needs a bit of research.
Maybe this is one of my secrets. I have things developing all the time. Some of them will never get there. When I’m ready for a project, I usually have something pretty close to jump on.
I haven’t shared a Pinterest Board for a while, and some of you seem to enjoy them. I create these things for inspiration. Sometimes I return to them for ideas about creatures, settings, characters, and more. Not usually for main characters, but supporting things. Let’s go for one of the big ones today. This is my Fantasy Board https://pin.it/1JYU7Vm
This is another annual event here at Entertaining Stories. I recap the year I finished, then some time after all the resolution posts have cleared out of WordPress, I post my business plan.
A few years ago, I decided that volume was important to my efforts. It might seem manipulative, but having a few titles available can influence shoppers to take a chance. I spent two years publishing three titles per year, and there were also a couple of anthologies I contributed to. I have to say, this stuff works.
Last year, I decided to limit myself to two titles. Let’s face it, a lot of work goes into six publications, plus there’s the required promotion that accompanies it all. This slower pace allowed me to experiment with different promo options, but I’ve already discussed those.
Personal matters took a toll, and I’m grateful not to have stressed myself for that third title. It’s already written. It only needs some artwork and a bit of formatting, but I’m not pushing beyond my comfort zone. It will count for 2022.
This year, I’m making it up as I type. Something that usually helps is to get a few things down for consideration. First is that I liked the pace last year and would like to retain that. Two per year seems reasonable, and might even give me some extra time if an anthology comes calling.
Here’s where the problems start, but I’ll walk through those, too. The Lanternfish Trilogy is complete. I’m thrilled for that, and it opens up some space for me.
Lizzie and the hat will continue, and this is where it starts looking like a problem. The finished story is called Good Liniment. I could publish it as soon as I get my ducks in a row, and probably will. However, The Midnight Rambler is also part of this series, and I’m up to 15,000 words on it as I hack this post out. I have three additional storyboards ready to go here, as well.
I don’t want to look like a slacker, but these are short novels on purpose. I think Lizzie and the hat are better in smaller doses. People also appreciate the occasional quick read. If my two publications are both in The Hat Series, I could look like a slacker.
It’s only perception, because I’m also currently writing a Space Opera with a goal of three books. I would like to hold back on publication so I can have a more rapid release schedule for them. This means lots of writing, but not as much publication.
One of my dreams is to release another stand-alone title or two. I have the storyboards, but the Muse hasn’t pushed me down that path yet. They don’t seem to sell as well, but I still like them. I think a certain type of reader feels the same way.
When I put all of this in my scrying bowl, what I see is something about personal enjoyment. Since I’m not making the house payment from book sales, I’m allowed to enjoy myself a little bit more. This is what I do for fun, and forcing another title feels like the wrong way to go.
The Hat Series is fun for me. I enjoy them, and I know many of you do too. Having all those storyboards ready to go makes it even more fun.
2022 might just have to be the year when I put out two titles in The Hat Series. I don’t see myself finishing the space opera this year, but will keep working on it. I’m bound to have a gap after the first one is complete, and I can fill that gap with one of the stand alone titles. I probably won’t finish it in 2022, but could make one hell of a dent in it.
This isn’t as formal or committed as previous years. 2021 threw me plenty of punches and I’m still reeling from some of them. There are days when all I can manage is to stay home and bleed. (Figuratively speaking) I’m not going to push myself in 2022. Publish two tales in The Hat Series, work on my space opera, fill the gaps with something else. It isn’t much of a plan, but it is a plan, and one I can live with.
Story Empire is something I’m very proud of. I will keep contributing over there, but wish the Muse would send me a cool series to write about. I’m more about story structure or characters and have covered a lot of ground in those fields. I’m not really the technical guy, or the super successful promoter. I’ll keep my eyes peeled for something I can stretch across multiple posts. If any of you have requests, I’m willing to consider them.
How about you guys? Do you formulate some kind of business plan, or are you more on the less stress is better method. This year I feel like I’m doing a little of both. Do you think me unwise to have two titles in the same series this year? Let me hear from you in the comments.
Charles Yallowitz is a dear friend and he has a new book to tell us about. Charles is one of the premier fantasy authors out there and this is the second series he’s placed in his expansive world of Windemere.
On the eve of Clyde’s dream becoming reality, his life will be torn asunder.
Cover Art by Alison Hunt
As his dream of peace becomes a reality, Clyde faces his darkest challenge. With the Dawn Fangs’ existence exposed, the time for negotiations has begun. Mortal rulers and the council of Nytefall gather to discuss terms, but chaos is already stirring. It does not take long for Clyde’s dream to become a nightmare as villages are slaughtered by a Dawn Fang who is rumored to be the newly crowned Vampire King. Bodies of friends and enemies pile up as this mysterious imposter reveals why mortals should fear Clyde. Will Clyde’s final adventure see his dream of peace fail before it is realized? The truth is more horrifying than the Dawn Fangs ever imagined.
Curiosity piqued? Check out this teaser!
Coming to the windmill, Magrus coats his body in a protective shell and carefully climbs to the top of the broken structure. Slowly turning in a circle, he scans the area to get a full sense of the remaining magic. He ignores the auras of the guards, who are sifting through the wreckage to find more bodies. Those who have been located have already been moved to the outskirts where they are being prepared for transport. Peering down the narrow road, he can see an oxen-driven cart is getting closer and sighs at how it will not be enough to collect all of the dead. Magrus considers warning the lieutenant, but he fears it will lead to a long conversation and waste more of his precious time. He turns to where the man is helping to prop up a wall, which has crushed a family of four. Shaking his head, the Zarian climbs down from his perch and uses his staff to help him navigate his way out of town. Nothing catches his interest, but he stops momentarily to send a few more lost souls to the afterlife.
“Let us see what really happened,” Magrus whispers as he reaches the woods.
Turning back to the village, the man plunges his staff into the earth and grips it tightly to prevent himself from falling over. His eyes develop a rainbow shimmer over the gold as he wavers on his feet. Fighting through the looming fatigue, the priest lets his magical vision change from what is in front of him to revealing phantoms of the past. Transparent buildings rise back into place and ghostly figures go about their lives even though he can still sense a little of what is truly there. Magrus scowls at the sight of a black-haired figure landing a few feet away, the puff of dirt revealing an illusion covering the small crater. Within seconds of appearing, the man rushes at the town and begins destroying everything in sight. Using only his fists and feet, he breaks houses and shatters people. The attacker’s speed is almost too much for the Zarian to follow, so he focuses on examining the phantasmal carnage for clues. He spots bite marks on several necks and sees the chickens were devoured in the blink of an eye. Torches and candles are knocked over to start the fires, which explode into an inferno connected to the illusionary plume of smoke. Magrus is not sure what caused the sudden blast since the attacker had been tearing the local blacksmith in half at the time. Deciding he has seen enough, the man freezes the vision before falling to his knees from the exertion. He is able to hold the image for another second before it disappears, but it still gives him a clear view of the rampaging figure.
“This cannot be shared,” Magrus says as he takes out a piece of paper. He mutters a spell to transfer the image of a black-haired man with a corn-shaped necklace from his brain to the parchment. “It would appear that Clyde of Nytefall is not as big a fan of peace as one would believe. Yet, I still see mysteries here. The fires grew without his influence and I see no reason why he would want this place discovered. I have many questions, Lady Zaria, so I cannot purify the Vampire King until I have answers. There has never been a man or monster who has escaped my thorough investigations. This one will be no different. I swear on my goddess’s crimson hair that Clyde and the Dawn Fangs will be judged. Then, if necessary, they will be punished.”
Interested in more Windemere? Then don’t forget to check out Charles E. Yallowitz’s first series: Legends of Windemere
About the Author:
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. Blog: www.legendsofwindemere.com Twitter: @cyallowitz Facebook: Charles Yallowitz Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cyallowitz/
I’m excited to visit Gwen Plano’s site today. The topic is Wreck of the Lanternfish. Make sure to check out Gwen’s site while you’re there. She has a wonderful selection of books, and is one of my Story Empire partners.
Hello blog friends! Today I’m pleased to host writer C.S. Boyack. Craig is a friend and fellow member of the writers group, Story Empire. If you’ve read one of his books, you know he’s got a great sense of humor and an even greater imagination.
An Idahoan who loves nature, Craig writes whenever he’s got a free moment. Busy though he is, he makes time for writing. It’s one of his great loves, as is obvious by his long list of top-notch publications.
I’ve read four of Craig’s books, and all have earned 5-stars from me. As you might suspect, I’m really looking forward to reading his latest.
Rather than me saying more, let’s invite Craig to tell us about his book. Craig, it’s all yours . . . Keep reading here
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.
Today, I have a special guest for you. Denise is a wonderful author and a great person to get to know. She’s also one of my partners over at Story Empire. She has a new book to tell us about, and I’m exited to see the wildlife photos. I have these same birds in my back yard, but don’t have access to redwoods. Make her feel welcome, and don’t forget to use those sharing buttons to help her spread the word. Take it away:
Thank you, Craig, for having me here today to share my latest children’s release, “Tree Fairies and Their Short Stories.”
In Tree Fairies, several birds make an appearance, including red-tailed hawks and horned owls. So I thought I’d share some interesting facts about them. The red-tailed hawk weighs between 2-4 pounds, with the females being the bigger bird. They can have a 56-inch wingspan and “kite” or hover in the air over their prey, which is usually rodents.
The great horned owl’s weight falls somewhere between 2 and 5.5 pounds. They will eat anything that moves but can’t digest all they eat. These birds leave behind pellets, which are their undigested food. Their huge eyes, which enable them to see in the dark, don’t move. This is why they swivel their heads to look around.
Where I live, red-tailed hawks have feasted on our chickens. Once a hawk flew at a window where our cat was enjoying the sun. Her only protection from the hawk was a window screen and our barking dog. I’ve never seen an owl, but I do hear them. They are known to hunt small cats, but luckily that’s never happened to us.
Both birds are a nuisance to the tree fairies and will be zapped with magic to remind them that fairies aren’t on their menu.
Fun Finn Facts
1. We have two ravens who share our land.
2. We planted a Giant Sequoia in our front yard thirty years ago.
When reality and magic meet in the forest
It’s 1969, and twelve-year-old Daniel Burns is camping in the redwood forest with his family. Danny wants to listen to his music and read, but his family has other plans. S’mores around the campfire and stories end their first day. The family is sleeping soundly in their secluded tent when Danny wakes up and finds his sister, Colette, is missing. Assuming she went to use the outhouse, he goes after her. When he finds his sister, they discover there is a thin veil between reality and fantasy.
Two bonus short stories offer a glimpse into the magical world that finds Danny and Colette. These hidden beings not only share our world but have a role in protecting their forest.
1969, somewhere in a redwood forest
The sun was setting behind the mammoth trees as we returned to our secluded campsite. My mom rushed into the tent to add inspirational words to the book she was writing. They had come to her on our hike among the redwoods. Dad and my nine-year-old sister, Colette—who weren’t as moved—collected wood for our campfire. They insisted it was a three-person job.
They walked ahead of me, Dad engaged in another batch of endless questions from Colette. I wanted to be listening to the brand-new portable radio I’d gotten for my twelfth birthday, but there were no radio stations to pull in—not even AM. I wouldn’t mind hearing the always-playing “I Heard It through the Grapevine” by Marvin Gaye, but my new favorite song was “Get Back” by the Beatles. Music filled my unsure spaces. Today, surrounded by trees that had lived more than one hundred lifetimes in contrast to mere humans, I needed some soothing tunes. I felt like I was a tiny grape in the vastness of a vineyard.
Picking up a branch here and there, I followed my dad and Colette. Two fluffy-tailed western gray squirrels were chasing each other across the same massive tree my family had attempted to join hands around earlier. I stopped and added two more branches to my load. A hand suddenly waved in front of my face. Dad. I held back my sigh when I saw his frown.
“Daniel Burns. Would you please join us on this hike?”
I kicked a small, gray pebble off the trail. It rolled under a fern before I met Dad’s firm stare. “I am with you.”
Dad folded his arms and raised an eyebrow. “Your body is here, but your mind isn’t, Danny. Like I just said, we’re headed to camp now because we have enough wood. Then we will all get the fire going and cook dinner.” He turned his attention to Colette with a wink. “After that, we can roast marshmallows and tell stories. Maybe Mom will have a new story to share tonight.”
Colette returned the wink. “Can we make s’mores?”
Her big blue eyes were enormous with excitement. Strawberry-blond pigtails bounced up and down in constant motion, and her smile’s brightness matched her loud orange-and-pink-striped shirt. The combination of my sister’s movement and colors made me dizzy. She would be a perfect cartoon character, like a colorful Tweety Bird in the Bugs Bunny cartoons.
“I packed the chocolate bars, marshmallows, and graham crackers myself.” Dad grinned. “Let’s go.”
D. L. Finn is an independent California local who encourages everyone to embrace their inner child. She was born and raised in the foggy Bay Area, but in 1990 she relocated with her husband, kids, dogs, and cats to Nevada City, in the Sierra foothills. She immersed herself in reading all types of books but especially loved romance, horror, and fantasy. She always treasured creating her own reality on paper. Finally, surrounded by towering pines, oaks, and cedars, her creativity was nurtured until it bloomed. Her creations include adult fiction, poetry, a unique autobiography, and children’s books. She continues on her adventure with an open invitation to all readers to join her.
For the first time in over a century, Clyde will know what it means to feel powerless and weak.
Headless bodies appearing across Windemere is only the beginning as Clyde faces the terrifying vampire hunter, Alastyre. Able to match the Dawn Fang leader in power and ferocity, this new menace shows no signs of weakness or mercy. With both friends and enemies getting dragged into the battle, Clyde will have to find a way to become stronger. For that, he will have to accept an ancient challenge and pray that those he cares about and trusts can hold Alastyre at bay. Which monster of Windemere will claim the top of the food chain?
Want to hear more? Enjoy this Teaser!
Alastyre disappears for a moment before reappearing in front of Clyde and grinning at how the Dawn Fang does not react. “I have waited many years for this day. You probably don’t remember me since it has been so long. The temptation to tell Mab the truth when she was my captive was so strong that I knew I needed more time to mature. I should only feel happy and excited when we are about to clash. By the way, your enemies put up an entertaining fight. It lasted no more than a couple of minutes, but I enjoyed it. My hope is that your reputation is true and I will get to use my full power for once. The thought of ripping your head off and adding it to my collection is one of the few dreams that gives my life meaning. Is this where we’re going to fight? I see that there is a lot of sand and giant boulders scattered about. Do you use this courtyard as a large rock garden in order to relax? You are a more amusing monster than I expected.”
“I don’t like you,” Mab growls before she is grabbed by the face.
“A drug-addicted worm should watch-”
“Put . . . my . . . partner . . . down,” Clyde growls from behind the hunter. The illusionary vampire fades away as the real one materializes, his gauntlet sword already pressed against the man’s meaty neck. “You say we’ve met before and you’ve been training to fight me. Looks more like you’ve altered yourself to become a freak. The smell of your blood reeks of corruptive magic and demon influence. There’s a hint of Dawn Fang and dragon in there too. You’re nothing more than a glorified golem. Bunch of parts and auras cobbled together to turn a weak mortal into a monster. I’m not impressed, Alan Stryker. Still trying to strike fear into the rotting hearts of my kind? At least your name isn’t as stupid as it was before.”
“Wait, do you mean that guy who attacked you outside of Lord Shallis’s castle?” Titus asks with a chuckle. He grunts when his sister is thrown into him, the force sending the siblings crashing against the patio’s railing. “I told you that keeping him alive was a mistake, but I didn’t think it would turn into this. You must be angry that nobody believed your story about vampires that are immune to the sun. Is that what this is about?”
With a casual flick of his finger, Alastyre sends Clyde’s sword and arm flying across the courtyard. “No because it was another hunter who survived and told that tale. Your leader was so distracted with Mab biting him that he failed to notice a second mortal that he failed to kill. I focused on recovery and getting stronger because I refused to follow such a ridiculous plan. The fewer people who knew about the Dawn Fangs, the better my chances were at being the one to succeed. Please know that I only want to destroy your leadership. Originally, I wished to wipe all of you out of existence, but that could prove to be impossible. You monsters are more talented at hiding than anything else I have hunted, so I could never be sure of your extinction. The next best thing is to take over Nyetfall and use it as a jail for your kind. All Dawn Fangs will be contained on this island once they no longer have their precious rulers. Don’t you agree that this is much better than extermination, Clyde?”
“I have no opinion because it’s never going to happen.”
“Do you accept my challenge?”
“You never officially made one.”
“I demand that you fight me to the death.”
“Thank you for being straightforward and not making me hunt you down.”
“We fight in an hour then.”
“Why not now?” Alastyre points while mentioning, “You are still missing an arm. I want to face you at full strength.”
“Don’t say I didn’t give you a chance,” the Dawn Fang says as he continues healing the injury.
Interested in more Windemere? Then don’t forget to check out Charles E. Yallowitz’s first series: Legends of Windemere
About the Author:
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.
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.”