Tag Archives: Frankie

A writing day: the middle slog

I’m in one of those enviable positions at my paycheck job, in that I have a lot of leave time coming. I decided to take some today for writing purposes. (Look, Mom, I’m getting paid to write. From a certain point of view.)

Tomorrow is my flex day, so I have that going for me too.

What I really want is to publish Serang before school lets out. Summer releases usually fail for me, so that’s my goal. The problem is, I need to finish writing it. There’s no reason I couldn’t hold it for fall, except I have another one I want to release this fall.

The nameless team-up story is going to have a good vibe for the Halloween season, so I really want Serang to be the spring release. I just have to finish it.

I got up fairly early, poured some coffee, then read my last chapter. I was joined by my writing partner.

Frankie rarely helps me, but maybe she’s interested in this story. (Otto is across my legs out of the frame.)

My characters are joining a caravan to cross the desert. They’re only going part way, then they’re going to branch off on their own. It’s a transitional chapter, and those take more time than the action bits.

Part of my issue is that the other story is becoming really fun. It’s over the middle slog and headed for the finish line. Serang isn’t quite there yet. “Aren’t middle slogs fun?” said no one ever.

There is a secret to getting over the middle slog. Lace up your boots and get to work. Sorry, that’s it. I know where the story is going, I need to move the players around, and it’s pure work. This is a good place to weave in a bit of introspection, or a growth point for Serang. I’ll look back through it and see if I can ramp some of that up later. Right now, I just want to survey the borders and get to the next part.

All in all, it wound up being a bit over 2800 words. I’ve reached a point where I need to decide if there’s going to be a battle, and there probably should be. I set some of this up and readers will expect it to happen. This will provide some exposure to western style weapons for Serang and might come across really well. Considering making it a longer battle where her traditional weapons aren’t much help.

Still, 2800 words is nothing to sneeze at. Not my best day, but certainly not my worst either.

I think Frankie is being overly critical here.

I may succumb to the thrill of the other story tomorrow. I really should try to get this one to the same point though. Serang’s finish is going to be fun too, but it’s looking like a longer story. Once I get past the middle it will practically write itself.

I have a hunch real baseball is on somewhere, so I’m stopping a little early today to check it out.

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Weekend

Mom and Dad came for a visit this weekend. It didn’t leave much time for authorly things, but it was fun. We went to dinner, and Mom did some Christmas shopping. I tagged along and scored a beer at Old Chicago while they hit the mall.

We stopped by the pet store, and the dogs scored these cool tire toys. They have ropes through them, and they love them.

Frankie loves her new toy

I managed to prepare the shtick for a new Lisa Burton Radio interview and send it out. I also worked my way through some critiques. It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s enough for one afternoon.

Hope everyone else had great weekends too.

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Flex Day Fun

I didn’t produce any new words of fiction today, but got a lot accomplished. I looked over four chapters for a friend and exchanged thoughts on that. Then I wrote two blog posts for Story Empire. I have one more, but it’s late in December so I’m stalling that one.

It may not seem like much, but there was a lot of time involved. I feel pretty good about it all.

What it served to do was clear the deck for my next effort. I’ll have to re-read my WIP, then I intend to move it forward as best I can.

There were obstacles, there are alway obstacles. This time it was in the form of Frankie the bulldog.

I swear she wanted outside a hundred times today. She likes to play with the neighbor dog. They run up and down the fence together and act all tough.

She’s also become pretty good at spotting the squirrel. She doesn’t care about the squirrel, but she wants Otto to chase him. This is because she bites Otto in the butt while he chases the squirrel.

She spotted it on the fence this morning so I let her out. She stopped on the porch and looked back for Otto. Once he was ready, it was all fun and games again.

She’s also taken to flopping across the back of my chair like a monkey. She leans her head over my shoulder and occasionally licks my glasses. Makes it kind of hard to write if I can’t see.

This is an older picture, but you get the idea. I keep thinking, “We named the monkey Jack.” It makes a pretty good position for squirrel spotting.

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Trying to get some things done

I’m doing all the fussy little things today. Things like making sure I have battery chargers in my suitcase for my trip. I set out my wallet and other glasses to make sure they get packed too.

Then there are things I can’t pack until morning. Things like combs and blood pressure medication.

I used the app to get my boarding pass. It also gave me my employee’s boarding pass, and I hope it doesn’t screw him up. I suppose we can meet at TSA and go in together somehow.

I looked for a Steelers game, but it doesn’t look like there is one today.

After placing some things out, I decided to tackle a few more chapters of Lanternfish. I got through a couple, but there were interruptions.

“Daddy, this looks like fun. Check out my rope toy.”

Meanwhile, Otto decided to go spelunking again.

I’m still remembering things, and getting up to place them out for my trip. I should probably focus on that and get offline for a while.

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This and that

My day was scheduled around being nursemaid to my dog. She stirred most of the night, and was freezing. It wasn’t cold in the house, and she can’t be feverish. She’s loaded with drugs, and I suspect it had something to do with that.

She’s done all the major life activities, and is eating and drinking well.

This means I had to shoehorn bits and pieces into my schedule. I got the guest post scheduled for this site. Then I wrote and scheduled my next post for Story Empire.

I spent a bit of time reading a craft book I bought. It’s good to keep up with story craft and do some studying in the off season.

After my wife got home, and could spend some time with our dog, I did the word searches on Lanternfish. I drafted this one pretty fast, and honestly, I’ve never made so many “it’s” errors in my life.

Word searches are finished, and it’s time to start reading it again. I’ll probably tackle a couple of chapters tomorrow. I saw some wordy phrases during my word searches, and this indicates my mind is ready for the task. This is why authors step back for a few weeks and do something else before editing.

I need to dedicate some time to one last micro-fiction for October. Right now, I’m more inclined to get back to Lanternfish.

I intend to dabble again tomorrow. This is because of my doggie duties. My standard of practice is to hit one project hard and complete it. This isn’t my comfort zone, but it also helps get things done.

I’d like to get Lanternfish ready for my beta readers in the next couple of weeks. I won’t make this a deadline though, because I don’t have any money to put into promotion anyway. The reality of getting it to market might be early 2019.

There is no sense in rushing it either. I’ve published two books this year, and that’s not bad. Maybe we’ll recover from the veterinary bills sometime in January.

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$2,446.96

It’s been a quiet week online for me. The best I could manage in most cases was to hit the like button on some blog posts. I’m trying to post something tonight, but even that is half-hearted.

It all started about 12 days ago. Our female bulldog, Frankie, started throwing up when she drank water. There were no other symptoms, including those of dehydration. She played hard, and drank too much. It happens, and I’ve never owned a dog that didn’t do this a couple of times.

Ten days later this was still going on, and we needed to have the vet check her out. There were a couple of timing problems here, one of which involved payday not happening until today.

The other issue is my work sent me to Moscow, Idaho during the week. This is a long way from home, and involved an overnight stay.

Nothing improved for Frankie, and our vet said he would see her, and we could pay him today. He did an x-ray, and there was something…

No idea what it might be, so another kind of x-rays were ordered. It could have been an ulcer, a tumor, or any number of things.

The barium helped reveal an object in her stomach and throat. He said it looked fibrous, like a sock or something. There was a half day period where the vet thought it might pass, but the clock was against us here.

Our vet doesn’t work Fridays, but he did for us. There are other doctors in the office, and they are all good. Frankie is his patient, and we appreciate him for this. Our most recent update involved the object moving, but not as much as he thought it should. He really didn’t want to do surgery, and gave us the choice.

We’ve been to the emergency vet several times. These people are good, but would not necessarily have the x-rays and diagnoses if we went there in the middle of the night. We reluctantly chose to put her through the surgery.

That turned out to be the right choice. The object was skinny, long, plastic, and pointed. He could not identify it, and we did not get to see it. This would not have passed, and could have led to an emergency situation. (Almost certainly.)

She’s home now, groggy as hell. There is a square shaved on her back from an epidural they gave her. She has a mountain of pills we have to give her too, and a restricted diet.

This is not her first experience with swallowing something, and we have to watch her like a hawk.

I’m not above a bit of speculation, so here goes. If you can imagine her chewing something up first, it sounds to me like it was a piece of someone’s fireworks. These aren’t just for the 4th of July around here. People set off fireworks all year long, and every summer night there are various small pops, and at least a few big sky shells going off.

More than once, I’ve picked up the residue from my yard. If I were to speculate further, I’m not able to cruise the yard before going to work. It’s dark outside. I think there was something in the yard, and she found it before one of us could get to it during the daylight.

I’ll never know for sure, but that’s my best guess.

I usually approach my weekends with a plan, and sometimes a task list. This weekend, I’m kind of dialing it in. I have a post to schedule for a friend, and am waiting for some interview data to come back. Don’t have a plan beyond that.

Oh, “Hey buddy, want to buy a book. I’m trying to raise $2446.96.”

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Back to the grind tomorrow.

Today was my one chance to work on things I wanted. I spent the early hours assembling some upcoming guest posts. Then there were the inevitable bulldog needs. My back started bothering me again, but just slightly. I moved the doggie bed out to the foot of my chair in hopes of avoiding some of the cuddles today. — Didn’t work. I’m fine, but there was a certain amount of twisting and adjusting so I could type.

There must be a dozen Lisa Burton Radio questionnaires out right now, but nobody returned one this weekend. I have a show for this Thursday, but might not have one the week after at this rate. This has become a pretty popular spot, so if you’d like to take advantage of it drop me a line.

I opened my work in progress, and managed about 1700 new words. Of course I deleted about a thousand of the old words, so it’s about a push. I have this habit of reading the last dozen or so pages before I start writing. I find a lot of mistakes this way. I’m also working with some important plants for later payoffs and I want to make sure everything is in place. Plants and payoffs always work that way for me; two steps forward and one step back.

Overall, I killed three people, captured a runaway slave, and set the stage to free said slave the next time I can tackle new words. No idea when that will be, because I have some things going on next weekend. I need to think up some kind of hinkey slave name for this character now. Maybe something will come to me during my commutes this week.

We discovered another piece of pink plastic in the back yard yesterday. That’s one more than we expected. On the other hand, Frankie is feeling pretty feisty and is back to her crazy old self.

Our new oven works just fine. My wife created some kind of beer braised meatballs that were awesome. She added in some mashed potatoes to go along with the extra gravy they produced. We’re pictures of health around here, but we’re generally pretty happy. Hope all of you enjoyed your weekend too.

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