Tag Archives: focus

My mind is everywhere today

I read a cool novella yesterday and posted a review. I really love short form fiction, and that love is getting deeper and more solid. I won't tell you more about it, because the author is stopping by next week to tell us herself.

I hacked my way through several chapters of The Playground. I've got to say the split screen ability on this iPad is awesome. Did you know there is a difference between mantel and mantle? By using split screen, I quickly checked spelling and moved confidently forward.

My mind keeps interfering today. Hey buddy, there's pumpkin pie in the fridge. I gave in. I also had a small turkey sandwich on one of my garlic Parmesan rolls.

Time to read blogs.

Time to post something on Twitter.

Slash through another chapter.

Thoughts keep dragging me elsewhere. I got up, went to the bedroom, and lifted the bed skirt. “Why aren't you scary anymore?”

A shuffling like dried leaves moved toward the edge of the bed. “I don't know exactly. My therapist says it's because of movies and television. I've been over exposed.”

“You mean like one of those actors who was everywhere, then can't seem to find work?”

“Exactly. When was the last time you saw Orlando Bloom in a new role?”

“There were The Hobbit movies.”

“Not a new role for him though was it?”

“I guess not. So are you saying you want to do Broadway or something?”

“Only if I can devour some actresses or steal a few souls away.”

“I think that's been done before.”

“So we're back to the same old problem. Monsters were scary, someone else added gallons of blood to our stories, and that worked for a while. Now we're left with jumping out and yelling boo. What kind of life is that?”

“What about suspense? That's kind of a favorite trick of mine.”

“I'm sure it works in your stories, but what good does it do me to look all scary when your readers won't even see me until act three?”

“It may not help you, but it may improve the story overall. Readers can see a little bit of your handiwork to build up tension. The character is trapped in bed, because if she runs for it you'll bite her feet off. Make her have to pee, and add some extra tension.”

“Alright, the old have to pee trick is a classic. Still, I'm missing out on page time here. I have to compete with scary humans, deadly viruses, terrorist groups, and more. Where is my piece of the pie?”

“Maybe closet monster can give us some insight.”

“He retired five years ago. Heard he found a nice culvert down on the Gulf Coast somewhere.”

“Hey, speaking of pie, my wife made a great pumpkin pie. Want some?”

“Sure.”

“Okay, but slide the plate and fork out when you're finished. She'll come down there after it, I swear.”

“That is truly scary.”

“She's out shopping on Black Friday right now.”

The whole bed quivered. “It seems you know a scary thing or two when you see them.”

“You know it, brother. I'll think about our conversation for a while. Are you available to talk again? It isn't like you're doing anything.”

A two fingered claw slid a piece of paper out from under the bed.

“What's this?”

“My schedule of consulting fees.”

“Really?”

“Look, a monster has to make a living. I don't like it any more than you do, so find me a scary story to participate in.”

“I'm still thinking about it. I'll keep you posted.”

***

Okay, back to editing, or maybe there is something on television…

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Was Grandma right?

I write science fiction, fantasy, and paranormal stories. In my mind, they’re related, but are a bit different.

I write my novels, this blog, the occasional micro fiction, and am probably going to attempt a few short stories.

The blog covers a pretty broad spectrum of topics. Cooking, foraging, writing, reading, plus the writing cabin stories under the Muse category.

When I read, I like online articles, comic books, your blogs, and more. Novels I read are pretty broad based. I read the kind of stories I write, but I love a good detective story, courtroom drama, historical fiction, horror, westerns, biographies, and more.

So am I becoming a jack of all trades, and master of none? I am more than the blogger and writer you see here, but I share. Thus the stories about sourdough, gathering morels, growing peaches, going out with my wife.

I don’t think that makes me so different, but what about my writing? Am I covering too many bases? I understand I don’t have to change a thing, but would I be more successful if I focused more? What if I focused on novels, and blogging about novels?

Just kidding! I’m going to keep doing what I enjoy. One thing I refuse to let go of is my personal enjoyment of this. Chances of getting rich here are slim at best. Chances of having a good time are excellent. I’m having a great time.

My grandmother used to say I bounced around like a fart in a skillet. Maybe she was right, but I’m enjoying myself.

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Easily Distracted, or Getting Old

I'm so cool up here

I’m so cool up here

 

I get easily distracted these days. Those annoying little pop up things on TV take the program away from me. I simply have to check out whatever special issue it might mean.

The first time I ignore something about corn flakes, I’m going to miss some sort of CDC warning about Ebola. I’m certain of it.

I feel the same way about ticker tapes that run during the news. “Did you see the live action footage of Bigfoot?” “No dear, I was watching the ticker tape about Lindsay Lohan.”

It’s gotten so bad I can’t read without total silence. I used to turn on music, but that pulls me away from my reading these days. Running water does the same thing, and I’m giving the clock on the wall the stink eye for ticking too loud.

All of our appliances have some kind of bell or whistle these days too. ┬áMaybe that’s why I write a lot of historical pieces. It’s more quiet in the Stone Age.

Some blogs distract me too. I know it’s my problem, and I’m not blaming anyone. Someone will post something with a video looping, and I can’t read the post. I have to look at the video, or try to scroll so it’s off the page.

I wasn’t like this ten years ago. What happened?

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Some Days are Diamonds

I set an alarm this morning. I could have slept in, but I really wanted to write. Sometimes my daughter gets up and wants to talk, and that’s great. I wanted some insurance that several hours were at my disposal for writing. Turns out she had to get up and go to work. Even more writing time.

It was raining hard when I let the old pit bull outside. Maybe we’ll finally get some relief from the inversion we’ve been living under for weeks. I used radar to make sure I was headed for the writing cabin, and not crashing into Mt. Doom along the route.

I sent a signal to turn on the runway lights. The second they came on, Lisa* came over the speakers. “What are you doing here so early?”

“Time to beat this manuscript into submission,” I said on final approach.

“OhmygoshI’mnotready. Happy landings, gotta go.”

I parked the gyrocopter and headed for my office. The coffee pot was still gurgling, so I headed for the alternate writing room. I left some carrot tops and a can of dog food on the kitchen counter, per Lisa’s request.

I threw the archaic old switch and looked at the creepy room Lisa designed. Doubt** still perched on a huge hippo tusk along the wall. “No time to waste,” I told him, and hung my hat on the stone gargoyle’s head, and ducked as the Will ‘O the Wisp passed overhead. I slipped into my custom lab coat and sat down.

I reread my last two paragraphs and started writing. Lisa came in behind me and I turned to say hi. She wore a low cut Morticia Addams dress that was skin tight, and ever so slightly see through. Her strawberry blonde hair went clear past her ribcage. She sat a small iron cauldron beside the pentagram on the floor. Doubt flew down and started eating from it.

“How did your hair get so long?” I asked.

“Hair extensions,” she said. “Do you like them?”

“Yeah. They look awesome.”

She sat a black cup of something beside me. It produced a white bubbling fog that tricked off onto the floor.

“So, um, what’s this?”

“It’s coffee. I ordered it from Planet Anur. It’s a special strain that produces the creepy mist. Try it.”

I sniffed and it smelled good. “This isn’t one of those that passes through some kind of cat or something first, is it?” It tasted wonderful, I took a second sip.

“No,” she flipped a wrist at me. “They aren’t cats, more like really big weasels.”

I cringed, but it was good coffee. I pointed to the collaboration of glass retorts. “Can you make that smell like something besides cotton candy? It’s starting to get to me.”

She turned the valve off and asked, “What would you prefer?”

“Something more manly, like Hoppe’s Number 9.”

“I’ll check the instructions and see what I can come up with. In the mean time, I hung the bubbling coffee cauldron in your fireplace off to the side. Just tip it when you want more.” She turned toward the stairs and I admit to watching her walk away.

I wrote with a passion. Poor Patty never got more than a few seconds rest. Then there was another interruption. Lorelei*** showed up to check out Lisa’s decorating. She played along in her own lab coat and crazy steampunk goggles. Her skirt was so short the lab coat was longer. She looked like the assistant Frankenstein wished he had.

“Lisa did a wonderful job,” she said. “I just wanted to check it out, and bring you a gift.” She handed me a small box covered in black wrapping paper.

Lorelei’s gifts are questionable sometimes. That’s how I wound up with Doubt. I opened the package and it was a desktop spindle. For you kids out there, it’s a spike to hold papers. It had a bronze base with three clawed feet. I said, “Don’t fold, spindle, or mutilate huh?”

She grabbed a cup of the creepy coffee, and sat on the new couch.

“Do you know what I could do with this?” I asked.

“Hush now, you’re breaking the rules again,” she said.

“Alright, inspiration only. I get it. I can do whatever I want with it.”

We finished our coffee and she left me to it. Patty went to a funeral, had a couple encounters with her stalker, committed a felony upon public property, forged her mother’s name, and wound up with a spindle on her desk. I wanted to make an evil laugh, but didn’t want Lisa to hear it.

I kept writing, Patty twisted her ankle, got a bad sliver, then went to her first dance. I know, I’m such a softy.

Just before the beer horns went off, Lisa checked on me again. “Nice word count, 30,656. That’s 6,610 words today. The new decor agrees with you.”

“Most of it comes from using a good outline, but yeah. I’m sure it means lots of editing too. It’ll need all the sensory stuff I always leave out first pass, like weather, smells, and stuff. But, yeah, the new work space is awesome, thank you.”

She held her hand to her mouth and teared up. Whoever heard of an emotional robot, jeez.

I went through beer time for the sake of the enchanted beer horns, got my alcohol removal injection and headed back to the real world.

* Lisa is from a novel I’m going to self publish this year. She works as my assistant, and is a robot.
** Doubt is from Mt. Olympus and appears to be a raven. He was a gift from Lorelei.
*** Lorelei is my Muse.

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