Tag Archives: guest posting

Field trip and a bit of luck

My paycheck job sent me to Idaho Falls for a couple of days. We avoid work related topics, but it puts a damper on my blogging ability. That’s the main point here.

Fortunately for me, two of my guest appearances posted while I was absent. That allowed me to keep some fresh content on my site, and I managed to deal with comments after hours. I think I answered everyone, but I’m going to surf back through the host sites to make sure after this goes live.

I have things to do today. (I always have things to do.) I’ve just come up against a wall of “I don’t wanna.” A big part of this involves driving, hotels, and all the rest of it. Driving across Idaho is not like driving across Vermont. It takes about five hours to drive across Idaho, and I did it twice. Bonus though, I got to see about 200 antelope, and one really nice mule deer buck. I also saw an elk rack that did not fit completely in the bed of a pickup truck. I know we’re all supposed to hate hunting and everyone that partakes, but I do not. It was impressive, and that was one of the biggest racks I’ve ever seen. If the rest of him was that big, someone is going to need a bigger deep freeze.

I’m going to have to sacrifice most of my planned word count for now. The stuff I need to do involves commitments to other author friends. I’m not going to let them down. There is one small bit of critique work I have to get to. Thank God for my Apple Pencil, and its new ability to work with Pages, my word processor. This speeds things up a bunch over the old redline versions.

I have two Lisa Burton interviews to work on. One has returned his questionnaire, and I’ll address it soon. The other is in a holding pattern until I get the questionnaire back. Still, it’s good to know there will be more “broadcasts” from Lisa’s trailer in the woods.

Yesterday was payday too. This means we might pull off a date night tonight. Old Chicago Pizza sounds good, but there is a BSU game tonight. Both things are good, but sometimes it means the place is SRO. Never know if we don’t try. I can be content with the MLB playoffs too, so I’m not picky as to whatever. We’ve talked about a backup plan that might involve a total absence of sports.

As a State employee, I get Monday off too (Thanks Columbus). Lower on my list is a cluster of critique pages of my own work. They aren’t going to spoil or anything, but if I get my commitments dealt with, I’d like to find time to slick up my own story.

It isn’t a huge list, and all of it is possible in three days. I just have to figure out how to deal with the “don’t wannas.”

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Some success

Yesterday I tackled the Lisa Burton interviews. I have twenty-five applicants, but only nine who've delivered the questionnaire answers. (Oops, ten now.) I worked up six shticks and sent them out. This took me six hours. I'd like to have completed them all up to the minute, but I have to face some facts.

Six hours is an effort on my days off. It will take me twenty-five weeks to post them all, so I'm ahead of the game. I hope nobody gets disappointed, but I can only do so much. It adds up to a considerable word count too.

I used part of today to work my time travel story up to 2500 words. This one is taking me way too long, and I'm feeling some pressure. Truth is, I never intended to write a time travel story. I like a challenge, so we'll see how it comes out. Writing to a theme and a target is kind of new, but fun. My MO is to get it done with enough time to make requested changes. I may only have a week of padding, but it will be enough.

I got the final Lisa poster for The Yak Guy Project, then did something crazy. I thought it might be cool to have a Lisa poster to promote the anthology with. The other authors can do what they want, but I'm going to have some artwork to promote with.

My time travel story spent a couple of months in the daydreaming phase as a Western. It didn't come out that way, and I hope it intrigues a few readers. Sorry, no cowgirl Lisa, at least for now. You might like what I changed it to.

This story is taking some serious research too. I'll bend some facts, but I want to have the rest of the details right so my changes don't stand out. Things like train times, actual hotels, and more help sell the twists.

While I was at it, I decided to order enough art to get me through the end of the year. These will be mostly for holidays wishes, but one is for my Macabre Macaroni short stories. (God, I still have to write those too.) The deadlines are spread way out, so Sean can take his time.

We had a quick date night last night, since my wife won't be here. Just a quick dinner and a beer. I had scallops with squid ink pasta… in Idaho, just imagine. It was wonderful too.

My wife headed for Nevada this morning, but not so early as to allow me to get some major work done. I dabbled and had some moderate success. I got a proof back from the formatter for The Enhanced League, and there are a few minor adjustments to make.

For the rest of this vacation, I would like to finish my short story, write three more promotional pieces for The Enhanced League, and schedule next week's Lisa Burton Radio. I might chuck some of it and publish The Enhanced League instead. No, it isn't too much, I might be able to do it all with a little bit of luck.

I don't think I'll add any more than that. The interview is all done and awaiting a link. I have ideas for the promo stuff, and I'm 2500 words shy of a short story draft. Two days is a nice pace without killing myself over it. If Enhanced League gets out next weekend, that's fine too.

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Vacation Update

I skipped my Sunday evening post to honor the guest I hosted. I'm typing this right now with Frankie straddled across one leg. She's the smaller of the puppies and more into cuddling than Nyx is.

Nyx is crashed out on the floor in a typical bulldog pose. Four feet in the air and snoring away. Otto is restless and uncomfortable. His pain medication seems to be helping, but not enough. I think we need to go back to the vet and see if there's more that can be done. I miss my happy-go-lucky dog, and he's more like an old dog that just sleeps all the time.

I've been getting things done, despite my little typing handicap. The Enhanced League is with the formatter, and we've exchanged a few emails. I've been working on blog tour posts, and have four of them roughed out, two as me and two from Lisa so she can distribute her posters. I need more, but it's progress.

I got my critique submissions all printed and worked up. I even put them in the truck so I won't forget them at tomorrow night's meeting.

Somewhere in the mix, I put my final touches on the Story Empire post and it went live this morning.

I got the initial shtick out for a couple of the Lisa Burton Radio posts. First finished, first posted on those. I need to work up a few more of these, because authors all work at different speeds. Some of them are waiting for publication dates and that's wise too. I will massage the schedule to time with their release dates.

The precursory research for my time travel story is done, but I need to do some deeper research. I also did a bit of research for my Fourth of July post. It's mostly a graphic, but I still want a few words.

For the remaining work, I need to finish reading the craft book I've been working through. There is also a novel I'd like to start reading. I need to write more blog tour posts, and a few per day feels like the right pace. I never know how many volunteers I'll get until I ask for them, and I like to be prepared. I'll have my own critiques to address after tomorrow night.

Then there is The Yak Guy Project. I swore I'd never release another book during the summer, but it looks like Enhanced League will come out in July. That might not be so bad for a 99¢ special that deals with baseball, a summer sport. Yak Guy might just have to wait until September, even if I get it ready before that. The challenge is to get it ready now. I can't procrastinate and cause it to come out months later.

I just checked on Lisa Burton Radio, which I track with another living document. It makes a statement about our society, that a nice post called Dear Lisa doesn't get any response. She pulls on her booty shorts and shakes her sign and gets twenty-one and counting responses. I've learned a lot about women in our society from Lisa, and tried to address some of that in The Enhanced League. (Fingers crossed. As a man, I may not have gotten it perfect.)

For the rest of today, I may read, I may write guest posts, I may edit on Yak guy. My son tells me there is an update coming on Diablo III that provides a new character class that we both want to try. It's supposed to come out this week, so I may chuck the whole thing and play video games. I am on vacation after all.

 

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Taskmaster

I don't have to return to the paycheck job until July 3rd. I've been trying to get this week off since April, but things have been too busy at work. It isn't perfect right now either, but I need my time off.

I got enough response to my request for guest authors to carry Lisa Burton Radio into October without missing a week. This means working on those posts will be part of what I have to do.

I need to work through two critiques this weekend, and have them ready for our meeting on Tuesday.

I could have gotten my first book out by now if I'd have gotten the time off, but I didn't and it's time to do something about it. Those of you who know me will recall that I like to make a list.

Projects for my week off:

  • Re-read The Enhanced League and make edits.
  • Figure out how to add images to the back of the book and actually make them look good.
  • Get the final MS out to the formatter, and pay her.
  • Assemble a guest post I agreed to host.
  • Work on Lisa Burton Radio stuff as it comes in.
  • Finish up a post I've been working on to appear elsewhere.
  • Start the word searches on Yak Guy.
  • Read Yak Guy and start editing.
  • Write blog tour posts for Enhanced League.

Depending on how well I do, I can get to some of these:

 

  • Research and assemble something I'd like to post for July 4th.
  • Publish The Enhanced League.
  • Put out a request for blog tour hosts.
  • Do some deeper research and start writing my time travel short story for an anthology.
Nine days, Thirteen items on my list. Some of those are pretty variable, like the Lisa interviews. Might get one to work on, or a dozen.

On top of that, I intend to hang out with Otto, drink some beer, watch a few baseball games, and I might even play a video game. It's a vacation after all.

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Tips, tricks, and plans

October is bearing down upon us. This has always been my favorite month of the year. I would happily trade January or August for an extra October. It's also always been my best month for sales. This is probably because I have a few paranormal titles in my catalog.

I plan to hit it hard in October. I have a few guest posts that will appear, and you may find some new blogs to follow at the host sites. I still have time to write a couple more if you know of an October event that I should participate in.

There are also a couple of blog tours via my Story Empire crowd. We'll be giving away prizes and hope to make a big splash. Follow Story Empire to keep up with what's going on over there.

I intended to make the tips & tricks part of this into a Story Empire post, but there is a five person rotation and it would be November before it posted. Over here I can weave in some of my individual plans too.

I intend to use some of the Amazon tools during October. I may run an ad campaign. I'm almost certain to have a sale, or even some free days. Keeping the October theme going, I'll probably focus on The Playground, Will O' the Wisp, and Panama. Both Experimental Notebooks fit the bill too, but since they're 99¢ I don't see how a sale would work. I may do some Facebook boosting too.

Last year, I invited people to provide artwork for Macabre Macaroni. My idea was that some budding cover artists might like a place to showcase their work. I was even happy with grandchildren who glued dried macaroni to a paper and made art. I never got a single taker, and there was no artwork last year. This year I'm taking a different approach. I commissioned a piece of art to accompany the micro-fiction. Macabre Macaroni will post every Tuesday in October.

I'm a little slow on the uptake at times, but I learned a Twitter trick. There are people out there who support me heavily. They make custom tweets about my books, or maybe a post they found entertaining. I want to reciprocate that support, and found their pinned tweets to be handy as hell. They made them, they want them shared, and they're right at the top of their timelines. There is one lady who changes her pinned tweet every day, others leave them for a week or so.

The gears move slowly, but what if I created my own pinned tweet to help them out? I've been doing this, and find it respectful of their time, and helpful to my cause. I'll probably create a graphic of some kind, like this:

In the 140 characters I can say something clever and include the Amazon link. I will try to change it up +/- weekly so it doesn't get stale. Twitter is a volume game. A million people see your tweet, and maybe one buys the book. It does produce sales though, so something that catches the eye might work.

The point is that you should be using a pinned tweet too. I've scrolled through dozens of hundreds of tweets to find something to support an author with. They probably appreciate me sharing their book tweet, but not the picture of their lunch. A pinned tweet is right on top where it's easy to find.

Moving to the next one, sharing buttons. Not everyone is using them on their blogs. I'm happy to share, but again, I may not take the time to create my own post from scratch. I'm now encouraging visitors to use mine on the Lisa Burton Radio posts. This way my guests get a bit more exposure. The sharing buttons are easy to set up through WordPress, and you may want to check them out.

While you're deep inside the guts of WordPress, are you auto-feeding your posts on other social media? I have mine set to feed right into the Entertaining Stories Facebook page, Goodreads, and to tweet the link out. Easy-peasy, and I don't have to do this individually.

This next tip might be worth the price of admission. I think there could be something to what the world is calling curated content. There are a number of apps and social media options out there. I'll even provide links, but I want to talk about them a bit first.

I started out with an extinct platform called Zite Magazine. I used it for news I couldn't get anywhere else. It provided many of the Idea Mill articles. If I liked something, I could give it a thumbs up to get more articles like it. If I gave it a thumbs down, it learned not to send me data about the Kardashians.

Unfortunately, they were absorbed by Flipboard. Flipboard promised the same experience, only better-faster-stronger, yada yada. It failed on this front, but there is a silver lining.

Flipboard will let you create your own magazine. I decided, since I was already there, to test it out. I call mine Entertaining Stories. (Branding and all that.) I selectively share my blog posts there, and occasionally share other items of interest, like when one of you has something wonderful, or Sean Harrington shares a Lisa poster on his DeviantArt site.

Most days I can see a few visitors from Flipboard. On occasion it goes absolutely crazy. I posted a bit of micro-fiction about Lisa this week that had over two-hundred visitors from Flipboard. See the image to remind you of the post.

A few months ago, I shared a post about a short story trick. It involved the twist endings I use in some of the short form. I had over 2000 visitors that found me via Flipboard. It still gets action to this day.

Here is the link for Flipboard.

 

We're still on curated content, but I'm drifting again. (Bear with me.) I've written before about what I call “white noise.” Feeds on all social media have become so much white noise. Twitter is the worst, and my regular feed is like a firehose of data. I scroll through until I see something that catches my eye. Catching my eye has become the new trick. Facebook is similar, and so is WordPress.

I follow a ton of blogs. I can't read them all, so something has to catch my eye in the regular stream. I have my “must read” blogs and they got on the list by engaging and by posting great content.

Re-blogging is a double edged sword. I love it when someone shares my post. I like to share the awesome stuff here too on occasion. It's hard to get much engagement on a re-blog. The original poster is the one where the interaction occurs.

There are some bloggers who share a dozen posts per day, and never seem to offer original content. One of these curated content options might be a great way for them to spread the word. Flipboard is only one, here are a few others.

I have not used these, but I might someday soon. It could be a way to extend my tentacles online without too much effort.

The first one is called paper.li It is like having your own magazine, or newspaper if you prefer. You get to share whatever you want with your subscribers. One of my author friends is testing this out right now, and I hope to learn how it works for him.

The other one is called RebelMouse. This is a similar product. I really don't know the advantages of one over the other.

It seems to me like this could be the way for me to replace the original use I had for Zite Magazine. If I could find a couple of curators who deal with macabre stuff, and some cutting edge science, it could be useful.

It also seems like a place that's ripe for mergers, acquisitions, and takeovers. Flipboard, paper.li, and RebelMouse are all doing nearly the same thing. (One sells to Microsoft, one to Apple, and one to Google.) That wasn't the point of my post though.

These sites are helpful. My content has been shared on all of them by others. I need to check out paper.li and RebelMouse, but before I dive in they have to be easy and fast. Any of us would like more exposure, but my time is limited.

In the case of Flipboard, there is an app for that. I find that to be an advantage. I did not find apps for the other sites.

In my case, all roads lead to this blog. If you find me on Twitter, Facebook, or Flipboard, even Goodreads, there is likely something that leads you back here. That's my system, but there may be others that work better. If you have a better way, share it in the comments. I'd like to know, and I'll bet my regulars would too.

Do you have any experience with RebelMouse or paper.li? I'd like to get some input on these platforms. If I take one of them on, it will probably be part of my 2017 business plan. I'm just gathering data right now.

Are you going to create a pinned tweet? I think it's a great way to let your supporters help spread the word.

Are you going to set up sharing buttons on your own blog? Feel free to test mine out.

Do you know of any October events I should be taking advantage of? Are you hosting one, and need some players?

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The Party’s Over

We got the camper all cleaned and put away. Some equipment is still at the house being recharged. We can put it away later, or hang onto it until the next camping weekend.

Like all Sunday's, I spent part of the morning talking to my parents. We went to the Oregon Coast together a few times, and we had plenty to talk about.

I answered a mountain of email that I let lapse, and checked on all my social media stuff.

This vacation yielded some fun short story ideas, and I wrote one out today. This one is short enough to make it as a blog post, and fits the theme of Macabre Macaroni. I will use some pictures inside this story to try something new. I think it's pretty cool, and hate waiting until October to share it. It gave me a chance to use my Apple Pencil. You know me, I always like trying new stuff.

Macabre Macaroni needs one more story, and I have some decent competing ideas. One of them is going to be too long to work as a blog post, but the other one should fit well. Having things done ahead of time is becoming a habit for me, and one that seems to work well. I can go over them during quiet times and might make them better to a degree. I won't have to stress about getting them written the night before.

Speaking of meeting deadlines, I sent off the second Experimental Notebook to the formatter. If you still have a beta copy, you don't have to finish it because it's too late to make changes. I hope you'll want to read it, and I appreciate your volunteering, but I published the deadline when I sought volunteers.

I'll try to peck away at short stories when I have a moment, my baseball stories are keeping me entertained. When I get the rare quiet Friday or Saturday, the Yak Guy is still waiting for me.

Sometime before the end of August, I need to pre-write some promotional posts. Most of these I write upon request, but it's nice to frame out a few ideas and have them “close.” It depends on whether the host wants to hear from me, or from Lisa, my assistant.

Speaking of Lisa, I don't know what to do with Lisa Burton Radio. I made it twenty-four weeks in a row, and the last post got a ton of action. Next week, Lisa doesn't have a guest again. It's kind of cheesy to keep interviewing my own characters. I may have to accept the fact that Lisa's interviews will be more sporadic. The spot has been uber popular, and I'm not retiring it. I'll just say that if you would like a character interview, drop me a note and we'll set something up. In fact, after this posts, I'm going to tweet out a half dozen of the old posts or thereabouts.

In the real world, my paycheck job beckons tomorrow. I'm sure all my mailboxes are overflowing, but I have a good staff and I'm sure they covered whatever they could.

It wasn't great that we came home a day early, but that extra day came in handy. I guess the party's over. Back to writing and back to the job that pays the bills around here.

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May is looking pretty strong

At this point in the game, I recognize that I am the brand behind Entertaining Stories. If you take this point of view, the brand is doing pretty well. This isn't the same as actual sales, but those will improve as the overall brand improves.

I finished up April with a fun post about writing short stories. On the first, I learned about winning the Planetary Award for short stories. I got invited to make a promotional post for The Playground, and that went over well too.

I was in a seminar on Tuesday morning. I had to be on my best behavior because I was a presenter at this one. I managed to snitch a look at social media on our first break. It turns out that I am the member of the month at the Rave Reviews Book Club. This comes with a gigantic media push by the members, and many non-members have joined in already too.

This promotion goes on for a month, and they put up a good page on their website for me. You can check it out here. I've always supported wherever I can, but this selection floored me.

I decided to strike while the iron is hot, and have another promotion. The Playground has been kind of smoldering along. This isn't the first book that did this for me. There are sales, but they aren't incredible. One of my earlier books, Panama, has smoldered along almost continuously and is my best seller. Starting Saturday, The Playground is going to be priced at 99¢. This will only last a few days, but a spike in sales might get it onto some of the charts, and I could get some reviews along the way too. The sale applies to everyone, not just members of my book club.

I also received a couple more guest post requests. One of them is kind of challenging, and I've been thinking about it for days. I'll get it right, then send it out.

Tuesday morning I also received the first of my new Lisa Burton blog art pieces. It looks pretty fabulous, and I'll probably run it out next week sometime.

Speaking of Lisa, I received two new requests for radio interviews and sent them out. I also received one back, and need to assemble it for final approval.

May is looking like a good month for my personal brand. I believe the sales will come with the extra publicity.

Now I need to assemble my critique submission and get it out the door for our meeting. Hope you folks are having a great week.

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A little burned out, but hopeful

This weekend was an emotional roller coaster. I watched action on the internet trickle off for a couple of weeks, knowing I had a book to release. Trepidation and nerves, but it wasn't about to stop me.

It isn't just me, I've talked with other bloggers and they've noticed it too. Traditionally, when I announce a new title, it makes it into my top ten list. It may not stay forever, because different posts bump up. That didn't happen this time, and it wasn't even close.

Today, my number one post was a guest I hosted back in September. I have no idea why, but I suspect PH Solomon got some good press somewhere and it linked to my article. I'm thrilled for him, and hope he's doing well. It's just a really old post to spike that way. I kind of expected Lisa's posters to be the top spot. Are you out there PH? Maybe you'd like to get a character on Lisa Burton Radio?

Does this indicate a larger shift in the importance of blogging? I really don't think so, but I'd like to find that next wave before it leaves me behind.

I spent all day today bouncing between various social media. This includes hunting down all the cover reveal posts and catching up with the comments. Everything has been complimentary and positive. It's just less than with previous books. I don't mean less positive, it's less volume I'm talking about.

Between bouts of social media mania, I prepared several posts for various people. I really appreciate these, because creative people asked me to be creative. Some of these ideas never occurred to me, and they were challenging. I'm really excited for them to come out in the next week or two.

I also assembled the next Lisa Burton Radio post and scheduled it for Thursday. It's a fun one, and all authors ought to check it out. Yes, I'm going to make you wait for Thursday for more information. I also exchanged the final version for the week following.

There are several questionnaires out for future radio interviews. These can get on the schedule, first come first served. I'm still looking for more authors who want their character to participate. I'm toying with putting one of my own characters on the show, but I'm not certain.

I custom wrote a couple of Lisa visits where she can hand out posters and talk about my new book. She still has some mileage in her for this release, so drop me a line if you'd like her to stop by. There are a couple of other bloggers who have teased they have interesting ideas, and I'll address those as they come in.

I have some pre-written posts that don't involve Lisa. I'm offering them to those who said they'd host a promotional post. I've been sending inquiries a couple at a time, because they are easier to keep track of. I also don't want to promise the same thing to more than one blogger. These posts are about inspiration, my style methods, and one interview with Lorelei, the Muse.

I got The Playground all fixed up on Goodreads. I'd really appreciate anyone who added it to a TBR list. This really helps, because it throws it into multiple timelines and brings awareness. Here is the link if you're so inclined https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29556732-the-playground

I also got it added to the Rave Reviews Book Club catalog. These guys can really help with promotion, and I'm looking forward to that.

This is supposed to be an exciting time, but it wasn't all fun and games. Aside from my concern about the slowdown, there were some personal issues this weekend too.

Friday night I knew we had a problem. The old pitbull didn't have that twinkle in his eyes, and really wasn't too interested in anything. He couldn't get comfortable, and moved between me and my wife all evening.

Saturday morning he wouldn't get up. He didn't need outside, and wasn't interested in his breakfast. We wound up putting him down. He's been on a downward spiral, and he's had a growing cancer for months. It hurts even writing about it. I haven't been without a dog since 1979. The place feels kind of empty now. Sometimes I had two, and at one point even had three dogs. None-at-all is a new experience for me.

We skipped date night this weekend because neither one of us felt like it. I bashed through all my promotional activities and failed to deal with it. It feels kind of like letting my old friend down, but it has to be done. The release was planned, and there are no do-overs.

I'm not seeking any sympathy here. It's just a fact of life, and those of us who love animals have all been through it. There will come a time to re-dog, but not right now.

For now, I'll console myself with the fictional dog in The Playground. I think you guys are going to get a kick out of him.

I think the Amazon giveaway was a failure. I expect an email at any time saying so. The rules are that I can do it again, since I already purchased the books. When I do, I'm going to lower the odds of winning dramatically. We will give away all the copies, I swear. Project for a different day.

For now here are the takeaways:

  • Please add The Playground on Goodreads.
  • Lisa is willing to make more visits. Let me know if you're interested.
  • I have a few prewritten, non-Lisa posts available.
  • Apologies for the Amazon giveaway. I'll probably revamp it and try again.
  • Lisa Burton Radio is a real deal. Contact me if you'd like to participate. This is your chance to promote here.
  • I'm also willing to custom write something if you have a specific idea that let's me promote my new book.
  • As we get to my guest posts expect some re-blogging around here.
  • Please consider using the social media sharing buttons for my promotional stuff.

My creativity has been a little off, but other folks have been challenging me and that's great. I haven't added a word to a short story, or The Yak Guy project for a long time. I can't honestly say I wasn't writing though. All these posts involved quite a word count if you add them all up.

 

I'll end with a promotional question for all of you. I believe in trying different things. I will tweet with the best of them, and hire a professional blog tour from time to time. I also want something to stand apart from the crowd. That's why I put so much effort into Lisa Burton. A mascot, or spokesmodel, has worked for Mad Magazine and Disney, why not me? It is working, and there will be more to come.

 

When I started off, I wanted something to brand myself. A common point that everyone could recognize. I chose Mom's old inkwell. It's cool. It's turning purple, and it's writing related. It just doesn't have the instant recognition of Lisa. Lisa has done so much more than the old inkwell ever could.

 

So here's the question. Should I find an image of Lisa for my Gravitar, and rework the banner at the top of my blog? The only thing holding me back is that Lisa is my character, but she isn't me. I have the image of Lisa with my bust that I used on Facebook, and it might make a good Gravitar. Then again, Mickey Mouse wasn't Walt Disney either, and that worked out okay.

 

Let me hear it in the comments. I'm a little tired, a little excited, a little bit more sad. It's been a long weekend, and the paycheck job is calling tomorrow.

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Something simple and fun to make

First a little confession. I’m going camping Friday around dawn. Rumor has it there is a WiFi signal occasionally, so I am taking my iPad. I have a couple of things going on across the blogosphere, and will attempt to reblog and participate in comments.

If the WiFi fails me, I’ll be back Monday at midday. I love you guys, but camping is important this year.

So, we went to Whole Foods over the weekend. I like to try new things, but this isn’t exactly new. This odd fruit has been all over the American West for decades.

Prickly pear cactus grows everywhere out here. Unfortunately, the kind I’m familiar with are tiny. They are about the size of a finger at best, and covered with fierce spines. The kind in the stores are a slightly different variety.

The fruits of the prickly pear are called tunas. It’s because of the vibrant deep pink inside. I probably made a mistake by not including the sliced fruit in my photo.

The store bought variety is almost the size of a baseball, and are sold spine free. I assume some tiny spines were singed off somewhere along the line.

We cheated, because we wanted to try this. This is prickly pear lemon aid.

I just sliced the fruit, squeezed it into a plastic jug. No spoons required, it just squeezes out. We poured bottled lemon aid over the top, put the lid on and shook like hell.

This stuff tastes like heaven. The fruit comes through clearly, but isn’t overwhelming. It’s a perfect blending. It’s even better after it steeps for a while.

I will make this again, only I’ll make it the right way. If you cheat, like I did, you won’t be disappointed.

I have a theory my cocktail shaker will appear soon for an alcoholic concoction.

Look for prickly pear tunas at your Whole Foods or ethnic foods store. Let me know if you make the lemon aid, or even better if you invent something.

See you all Monday, unless I get lucky with the WiFi.

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Now that would be awesome!

I’ve heard the phrase, burning the candle at both ends, all my life. It indicates that everyone needs a little down time now and then. A period of time to recharge and reflect.

Right about now, I’d love to burn the candle at both ends. Recently I’ve been using my pitchfork to scoop piles of candles into the forges of hell. Work was a zoo today, and has been for weeks. There are projects that keep getting further behind. I can’t put out the fires fast enough.

I’ve been driving myself hard on the writing front too. I have a lot to get done, and I’m pressuring myself to do it. There is no particular reason, it’s just how I’m wired. It is possible, in theory, to choose two projects per weekend, and stop once they are accomplished. I just can’t live that way.

On a positive note, Sleepy Hollow is over for the season. Maybe I can pre-write one or two of those blog posts in my spare time. I’ll have to hurry, SHIELD is coming back.

There aren’t going to be any guest posts this week. I never got any invites, or requests to appear here. This isn’t a bad thing, but I’d like to keep the goodwill going. I’ve enjoyed the various lessons my guests have provided.

I’d still like to get a romance author in here to share a few tricks. How do you build that heat, and maintain it for a few chapters before delivering the payoff? I have some ideas, but if there is a recipe you’d like to share, we could all benefit from it.

I also got a request for a dialog lesson. I’ve posted about this before, and maybe someone else would like to take a crack at it. Sometimes hearing from a new person helps us learn.

Anyone who appears here is welcome to promote their newest book, or coming soon, or editing service. It’s part of the deal, and is expected.

I was asked by a couple of people how I manage to write in multiple genres. I’m willing to write this out, but if someone would like to make it a blog swap it would be more fun. I can also give a moderate guns tutorial. Guns appear in many genres and it’s always nice to know a little something about them.

Several bloggers have dropped me a line, then never sent me anything. You’re still welcome, and I’d love to host you.

If anyone would like to set up a blog swap, or just wants to appear here, please let me know. I’d love to hear about your new project, and get a few writing tips along the way. I usually have Tuesdays and Thursdays available.

That way, my followers get fresh content, you get new exposure, and I get to burn a few less candles. What’s not to like? Drop me a line at Coldhand (dot) Boyack (at) gmail (dot) com. Lisa Burton is standing by to field all inquiries.

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