Tag Archives: Frankie

Today’s Office

It was supposed to be a lovely post. A photo of my campsite in the ponderosa pines with an undergrowth of blueberry bushes. Then there was the mule deer doe that hangs around the edges of the campground. However, I’m down to a cellular hotspot with only two bars of service. I spent two hours trying to get the photos included, but no bueno. In fact, I have my doubts whether this text only post will upload, so here goes nothing.

It was hot yesterday. Somewhere in the nineties. This is tough on bulldogs, but we have power here, so the AC helped a bunch. They were restless most of the night. Otto decided to get up somewhere between 4:30 and 5:00 this morning. It’s either listen to him pace and whine with no hope of going back to sleep, or get up. My MO is to get up. When it’s time for breakfast, it’s time for breakfast.

Frankie rarely eats when we go out like this. Otto was content to clean his bowl, then hers. I picked it up before he got a double breakfast. Old What’s Her Face got to sleep in a little, then she gave them some hamburger and an egg, so Frankie isn’t starving.

I plopped down under the awning while it was still dark. The first order of business was to deal with the final critiques for Lanternfish. I don’t need wifi for that, and it’s all resident on my iPad. It can save to the cloud when I get home. Good suggestions, and it’s in the fermenter for a couple of weeks. Then I have to read it from start to finish, because there are always things that get missed.

Next order of business was to send out a chapter for Mrs. Molony. For some reason, while slow, that went off without a problem.

I’m still going to add a couple of paragraphs to this story. They aren’t needed, but there is a minor theme that could be addressed. I’ll let my critique group decide when they see the final chapter.

That left me the short story with Jason Fogg. It’s time for it to come out of the fermenter and get the last reading. Only I found two boneheaded errors. I fixed those, then put it back in the fermenter. I’m on vacation all week, so during the staycation part, I’ll make sure it gets submitted.

We took a drive today and saw quite a few deer. I only took the one picture and it didn’t upload anyway. I hoped for an eagle here on the lakeshore, but he never showed up.

There are still quite a few mushrooms in the darker parts of the forest. I hoped to do a snoop for a good one to add to my breakfast, but the mosquitos were pretty bad. I’d sprayed myself with repellent, but my wife was having none of it.

I did see one I’ve never seen before called Dead Man’s Fingers. It was a pitiful example, and looked more like a bunch of thin black spikes. I have a hunch it wasn’t mature yet. This thing looks like zombie fingers poking from the earth if you find a good one. I fully intended to look for one, because I wanted a photo. But Old What’s Her Face insisted we leave.

Tonight we dined on grilled lobster tails and some kabob vegetables. I’m washing it down with a bottle of stout right now. We’re having a good time, but the post would look better with pictures.

 

Update: The guy camped across the street from us is a piece of work. He is there with a girl of about thirteen and a son at about four, if I had to guess. Then grandma is with them. He’s one of those guys who is on his phone all the time. He tries to sound like a big deal, and has that wheeler-dealer mentality. He called his boss and is going to miss work on Monday. I couldn’t help but overhear. Something about the ex-wife and how he had to hire a babysitter one night because he had some function to attend. Then he was contacted by Central District Health. There is a trail of Covid-19 exposure going through the alleged babysitter. He said he has to take Monday off to get his entire family tested, but none of them are showing any symptoms.

I’m not totally freaked out, and they are about fifty feet from us. He’s been down at the dock fishing with the post-toddler. The dock is swarming with people. He’s also been in the neighboring camp telling them about his fishing prowess. Not one mask in sight.

If I’m not mistaken, the rules are to stay home until you get the all-clear. Not to go camping and mingle with other people, because you might not have Covid. The teen had the little one and was pointing into our camp. “Look at the puppies.”

No. Don’t look at the fucking puppies and keep on your side of the god damned street.

He’s a tent camper, too, so that means they’ll all be using the restroom facilities.

Between you and me, I think the guy was lying to his boss. He’s that kind of bullshitter. I’m not willing to take that chance, and if Otto misses out on making one friend he’ll get over it. We have social distancing on our side, and we’re outdoors to boot. I’m not letting any of them near my stuff, or allowing them to pet the dogs.

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Something fun

Old What’s Her face received a box of items because she works at the hospital. It’s a good box of fresh produce and even included a small ham. All of the workers got one. It includes a bag of peaches, one of apples, potatoes, onions. Good stuff.

You might imagine it isn’t perfect. She also got a few yams. It isn’t even a bag it’s more like a half bag. We talked all morning about what to do with them. Neither of us likes the old-school candied yams like people serve on Thanksgiving.

Maybe one of the television chefs had some kind of recipe for them. We spent some time checking those out. In despair, she said we weren’t going to be able to use them.

It was then I had a different idea. “Who wants a new toy?”

The dogs were apprehensive to say the least. Otto eventually took one and walked off polite, but obviously disappointed.

Old What’s Her Face asked if they were safe for dogs. I had to admit, that hadn’t even crossed my mind. She said she would Google it.

I decided to take them away, but Otto was having none of that. He trotted away, then headed for his favorite obstacle course – under the table. Frankie was excited because she could make hers roll across the hard surface flooring.

Turns out, yams are considered a nutritious treat for dogs. They noted that some are sold as dog treats and some dog food brands include them.

About that time, Otto decided to bite down a bit harder on his. He thoroughly enjoyed chewing his up, and wound up eating quite a bit of it.

It took Frankie a bit longer to come around. She was busy rolling hers across the floor. When she saw Otto eating something she had to check it out. Then she returned to hers and gave it a try.

Tomorrow, we’ll probably have a nice Denver omelette including some green peppers and the ham that came from the box. We have a few more dog toys left as well. (Don’t tell the root monsters.)

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As authors, what do we do with it?

I’m in a quiet house this morning. My daughter is here, and she brought a Rottweiler puppy with her. These all belong to her room mate, and nobody seems to want this one. He’s cute as hell and they’re trying to give him away. I tried to snap a photo for you guys, but he’s kind of a perpetual motion machine. He looks more like a Black and Tan coonhound right now. They never got His tail docked, but I have a hunch this will change once he fills out. You’ll have to make due with Frankie and I.

As authors, we’re all kind of observant. There is a lot going on around us right now, and I wondered what to do with it all.

I remember my grandparents talking about quarantines and such. One of my grandmother’s sisters was quarantined at Ellis Island, because they thought she looked sickly. Grandma had to make her way to Utah alone. They were both children. I think grandma was eleven at the time, and her sister was a similar age. One parent in Wales, the other in Utah and they shipped them between the parents.

I’ve heard them talk about the kind of quarantines we see today, but always thought that was something for the history books. Something to use in one of my historical pieces, or maybe fantasy. Here we are in the 21st Century and living it. I told my son he should grab a couple of rolls of toilet paper and try to find a girlfriend this weekend. “Hey, baby. I have toilet paper.”

I added some quarantine issues to Viral Blues, but obviously got a few things wrong. I hope this doesn’t kill the enjoyment of the story. I had my quarantines limited to specific areas, and I never anticipated the hoarding and shortages that we’re seeing.

When I think about my Lanternfish project (70,000 words and growing) the Coronavirus isn’t going to make a difference. It’s set in a fantasy world, and nothing will have to change.

That may not be the case with my side project, currently called The Ballad of Mrs. Malony. (10,000 words and now what?) I dealt with some monsters in Viral Blues, but an intentional spreading of disease was the undertone of the story. This poses some issues for me. The Hat stories are set in the modern world. Sure it’s supernatural/paranormal, but in our world. I’ve already dealt with a virus in this series.

In the stories, Lizzie and the Pythons are a cover band that allows me to move them around the country to discover new paranormal adventures. Nice trick for an author. However, bands play in nightclubs. Those are all closed today. How realistic is it to have them doing this in their stories? I don’t want to trash what I’ve already created, but I have to admit the opportunity to show them out of work and have Lizzie bicker with The Hat over such things has merit. Maybe they have to deal with looters and riots. The Hat always said humans are the worst monsters of all.

Part of the problem is that I have long term plans for them. I have two and a half more books living in my head, and changing continuity of their story isn’t something I relish. I’m not saying it can’t be done, but it’s a great way to lose interest in writing them.

In a perfect world, this will all blow over in six months. I’ll look like a genius to future readers, because I have my virus story in the continuity of the characters, and nobody will check the publication dates and compare them to the current outbreak. Fun times for everyone, etc.

What about our future projects? Are all of the real world stories going to have to acknowledge the happenings of 2020? Our world will change because of this, whether it involves where people work, health insurance, vaccines, or any number of things. Our economy will change, too. Should we all hold off on real world settings until we see where we’re headed? It might seem odd to readers if the world looks like 2019, but they’re reading it in 2022. Maybe traditional things will become a page in the history books, and having fictional kids going door to door on Halloween will be an archaic reference. Big family Thanksgiving??? I think you can see where I’m going with this.

I decided years ago that any science fiction I write is better in the near future. I don’t think I write outer space all that well. Honestly, it’s okay not to be great at everything. Having some parameters on my imagination is a good thing. However, I have a nearly complete storyboard for a post apocalyptic story. The world tore itself apart, and I can draw from some of the things I see going on today. But, do I have to acknowledge 2020 in some small way? Today would be part of history in the setting this story will take place in.

You’ll probably see me around next week as I continue touring Grinders around. This is some of my near future science fiction, and doesn’t reference Coronavirus at all. It didn’t exist when I was writing it.

I’ve talked about my concerns with writing around the outbreak. I also have to admit it offers some new and realistic opportunity. Your super spy runs into a roadblock because the airports are closed. Cute romance involves a quarantine, but they both live in the same building. Heroic stories about coming up with a vaccine, or delivering one to a decimated area. There are some possibilities here. We can use the selfishness, create new forms of prejudice, add some riots, all of these make good story turns.

Since I’m rambling, here’s one more Boyack thought for you. When the media creates the next generation of heroes for us, I hope they skip over the sports stars, the box office heroes, and the musical starlets who can’t seem to wear enough clothes. Maybe there ought to be some space reserved for the scientists, the CDC workers, even the truck drivers, and those who are serving our elderly. I would watch their awards show.

Talk to me people. Do we need to rethink our works in progress? Are you excited to fictionalize the things you see going on today? Do we need to reassess what a real hero is? I know you’re all home, and if you’re reading blogs this weekend, I’d love to hear from you.

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Vacation day

This is one of the busiest weeks of the year for us at work. With everything pretty much settled now, I decided to take today off.

I didn’t have any specific goals other than not having to get up and commute. This week began with a return to Daylight Savings Time, included a full moon, and ends with Friday the 13th. None of those are particularly troubling. In fact, I published Viral Blues the last time Friday the 13th rolled around.

The news is depressing with all the viral scares going around. I was looking forward to baseball season, so that’s kind of disappointing. I understand why they’re making all these changes, but I don’t have to like it.

Fortunately for me, there is the writing thing. I need to address some critiques I have back, but I don’t have them all. With that in mind, I decided to add more words. It wasn’t a banner day, but 1600 new words are more than I had when I got up this morning. I kind of like them, but always reassess when my next writing day begins.

The tour for Grinders is ongoing, and I needed to deliver some materials for that. I think it’s time well spent. No sense publishing these things if I don’t try to make people aware of them. This tour hasn’t been any more productive than any of the others, but there is one noticeable difference. I’m enjoying it more. By only having two posts per week, I don’t feel rushed and harried to cover all the comments and such. Comments have been great, too. There seem to be more of them this time.

This could actually be a good thing in the long run. I buy books by earmarking them in my head, then getting to them when I have some time. I don’t always remember all the things I was interested in, and sometimes a reminder will send me running to Amazon. Perhaps, by spreading the posts out, I can have those little reminders online for those who are more like me.

Two years ago, I decided that writing my next book was my best source of promotion. It seems to be working to a degree. My backlist is getting more action than it ever has. It isn’t a lot, but it’s noticeable. More publications means I’m out there more frequently than ever before. Phase two of this idea will be some “specials” when my series books are ready to come out. It’s possible I might weave in a free day for one of the older titles, too. That’s all speculation. My main goal is to get the next Lanternfish book ready to set sail.

Those 1600 word might be all I accomplish this weekend. There could be a few more, but the story has moved to a point where I’m not stressing about it. If I can’t get it finished before Summer, I may just release it in the middle of Summer. I never have great luck with Summer releases, but I’ve been told the middle of a trilogy is a tough sell anyway. They usually don’t move until the series concludes.

I’m open to suggestions on that point. Let me hear from you in the comments. I’d like to learn your release day and promo secrets.

Oh, Public Service Announcement: Hiding in the closet with a copy of Grinders is a great way to spend the weekend and will not expose you to Corona Virus. It’s an E-book, so you can’t substitute it for toilet paper, but you won’t want to after you get into it.

On one of my last posts I tossed a photo of Otto out there to draw interest. Frankie demanded equal time, so here she is on one of the rare times when she pauses in her playing.

Being good, temporarily.

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Some weekends are like that…

This is my short weekend based upon the flex schedule at work. Because of that, I made limited plans and seemed to have accomplished those.

My only real goal was to tune up a section of HMS Lanternfish, and it needed some serious tuning. It was full of autocorrect and “it’s” kind of mistakes. My group looked it over, and I found some additional ones while I was working on their suggestions.

I just get typing along and these things happen. My big problem is that I can’t see them in my own work. I must have gone over this three times before I shared it. The work is much tighter now, and vastly improved.

That is the only thing I had planned. Tomorrow is the day I call my parents and I usually veg a bit on Sundays.

Next weekend, my flex schedule plays to my advantage. I wind up with a four day weekend, and ought to get some new words then.

I need to finish reading a book I started a long time ago, then I really ought to start word searches and the final read through on Grinders. Sean will deliver the cover art in no time now.

We managed a nice date night at a new place in Eagle. This is only about ten highway miles from town, and it was pretty good.

In other news, Otto and Frankie got new tennis balls. There’s been a whole lot of ball playing going on around here.

Otto

We buy him the oversized ones, because his mouth is so damned big. Frankie gets ones that are smaller than tennis players use.

My daughter texted while we were at supper. She is pretty highly ranked at the airport, and graduated from beauty school several years ago. The fire department is going to pay her to do some theatrical makeup simulating a plane crash at the airport. This is a training exercise and she’s pretty jazzed about it. She never said if she was participating in the exercise, but she’s going to do all of their makeup. I think that’s pretty cool.

There you have it. Not a lot going on for me personally, but it accomplishes a blog update.

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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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