Tag Archives: HMS Lanternfish

Baby steps

Today was a pretty good flex day. I decided to do my word searches on Mrs. Molony. As part of The Hat series, they’re smaller books and it didn’t take long at all. Took longer to whine about it than to do it.

Based upon word searches, I never had to change a thing. My critique group has eagle eyes. I also took on a complete read through, and did reword a couple of sections. This is where the month away really helps. About the only thing I didn’t do was make a cover page and copyright data.

Imagine my excitement when the cover for Mrs. Molony showed up in my mailbox today. It turned out really good, but sharing it right now might be counter productive. My immediate push will be for book two of the Lanternfish trilogy.

Lanternfish is in the hands of my formatter. I figure it will be ready to publish in a week. Might even get to it this coming weekend. Then I’ll have to shift into promo mode and try to spread the word.

I also placed an order for artwork to accompany Mrs. Molony. We’re going to start off with the cartoon graphics that go inside the body of the text. These just add to the corniness of these tales. After that, I’ll get Sean started on a couple of Lisa Burton posters to promote with.

All in all, it was a productive day. It’s nice to move ahead on Mrs. Molony because I’ll be knee deep in Lanternfish promotion real soon. Hope all of you had a good Monday. Back to work for me tomorrow.

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Small Victories

I had to cut back an old rose bush this morning. Morning because of the incredible heat we’ve been having. Old What’s Her Face ran the wood chipper and it really helped with the cleanup. We have room for the fencing crew to work now and I think the rose will recover.

Then, I dedicated myself to the final read of Lanternfish. I found a few mistakes, but they’ve all been fixed. Then I built a title page, double checked the links in my back material, and mailed it off to my formatter.

I might even be ready to publish by next weekend. Honestly, I wanted this done in May, but it is what it is.

If you’re ready for another dose of root monsters, con men, and Serang, it’s getting close.

I have some new monsters and fantasy creatures in this one. Honestly, creating them is kind of fun.

There are also a few new lands to be explored. I tried to flesh those out as much as possible without turning it into a weird travelogue.

I’m going to take my time with promo. I haven’t even tried writing blog tour posts. I’ll do it, but I want the book available first. I have a couple of Lisa Burton posters in hand, so Lisa will be participating in the tour.

It may not seem like much, but small victories add up. I have the cover for The Ballad of Mrs. Molony in the works right now. If things work out, I can promote Lanternfish for a few weeks, then publish Mrs. Molony in time for the Halloween season.

I may keep it boring tomorrow, on purpose. I am supposed to be on a pseudo-break of some kind. Maybe Charles Bronson is killing people on television somewhere. If noting else, The Santa Clarita Diet is hilarious. It’s on Netflix, so I can watch multiple episodes at at time.

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Still on break

In some ways, I don’t know what to do with myself, but I’m falling into the routine a little more each weekend. I have two of three critiques back for the ending of The Ballad of Mrs. Molony. Once the last one arrives I’ll address those.

After the critiques, it will be time to read HMS Lanternfish. I haven’t looked at it for a month, so there are bound to be things to repair. I can also do my word searches for corrections that I always seem to need.

After Lorelei the Muse visited, my head is full of ideas, but they aren’t immediately helpful. I’m really excited about The Hat books five and six. However, it’s book four I need to storyboard properly. I know that story, but it needs more structure than the others. It’s going to involve an event that will shape the future of these stories. It needs to have an emotional tug to it. That might sound funny for a series that’s dedicated to dark and snarky humor, but it works within the framework I’ve established.

I also added some fun ideas to a couple of storyboards for some stand alone novels I want to write. There is also an outer space related story bouncing around in my head, but it hasn’t earned a storyboard yet. Muses are great, but more pertinent help would have been better.

If nothing else, once I figure out the issues with my next two books, Lanternfish and Hat #4, I will be ready to scream along on future tales.

In other news, I worked on one of my cowboy hats a bit. Long term readers might remember when Old What’s Her Face and I went to Jackson Hole. There used to be a wonderful hat shop there, and I bought a nice beaver hat. I posted about cutting the brim down, steaming & shaping the brim and crown. Then I used a stitch puller to remove the hatband.

After that, I had my brother make me a copper hatband. This has worked well for years, and it’s my go-to outdoors hat. The band is held on by friction, but it will come off when doing some hat related chores, like fanning the campfire to get it going.

Today, I took some tin snips and some copper pipe and made a couple of staples. It took some effort to get them placed and puncture the hat body, but I don’t think my hatband will be coming off any time soon. Oddly enough, closing the stables was the hardest part. Not a lot of room to swing a hammer inside the crown of a hat.

I’m sure the staple will age and patina to catch up with the rest of the copper eventually.

I also broke down and ordered a new hat. I doubt the cowboy hat will be retired, but I wanted a campaign hat. This will be the third one I’ve owned over the years. The first one was cheap wool, and wore out back in my survey days. I allowed a bar tender to hang it on the wall in a tiny little place called Midas, Nevada. (Hope it’s still there.) The second one got borrowed by one of my son’s friends when they were in high school. They were a bunch of druggies, and once he gave it back I threw it away. Lice happen and I wasn’t about to take a chance.

This campaign hat is slouch style, and made of much better rabbit fur. It will come with the cavalry style acorn band, but I got the officer’s version with gold and black since it was an option. (I already have a hat with gold acorns.)

Years ago, in my part of the world, cowboy hats were everywhere. I’d kind of like to pick up a decent used one to experiment on. I can’t believe how difficult and expensive that process has become. I used to see such things at yard sales, but no more. I’ve learned how to sterilize and clean them up, and have a couple of experiments I’d like to try.

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Stirring things up

One of my goals while not drafting new material is to shake things up around here. It’s nothing drastic, just an attempt to sweep out the old and try some new things.

I need to change my banner, but with a couple of releases looming, I’ll probably just wait until one of the new books comes out. I can recycle the underwater scene when Lanternfish shows up in the Amazon store.

Start over there.

(Not liking this new editor. This should be centered. Probably fix it with the old editor)

In my sidebar, I always keep the two most recent publications available as quick ways to check out those books. I could put all of them over there, but that would be a busy mess. These images are about to be replaced by HMS Lanternfish and The Ballad of Mrs. Molony in the next couple of months.

You can always find everything on my Amazon page, but if you’d like to check out Serang or Grinders, the links are still there. I think they’re two of my better works. Serang is a great way to climb aboard the Lanternfish saga.

Up Top

All blogs have pages, but very few people check them out. I’m making some changes up there, too. If you were familiar with my layout, you’ll notice something missing. I have retired Lisa Burton Radio.

This regular feature was designed so I could pay back all the help others have given me along the way. I designed something a bit different that loaned out Lisa’s popularity as an interview of your fictional characters. They were labor intensive, but quite productive.

Honestly the interviews worked best when I promoted them. By doing that I kept a regular schedule of one per week for over two years. It was fun collaborating with my fellow authors, and we moved a few books along the way, too.

I wanted some of my time back, and quit pushing authors to try it out. They were available upon request, and there’s the rub. Nobody was requesting them. Most authors are introverted to a degree, but we have to promote our wares someplace. Good free options are drying up from lack of use, and Lisa Burton Radio is one of those casualties.

My door is still open to folks who want a place to promote their books, but you can write the darned things now.

Still up there

I’ve added a new page to check out. Music plays a big role in The Hat series. Lizzie and The Pythons play music as a way to get her out at night and travel around as they explore the supernatural world.

Some of my Story Empire friends suggested that playlists are popular and that I should consider sharing one. I’ve never tried anything like this before, and didn’t have a playbook, so I made my own up.

I have a huge playlist on my phone that goes along with these books. However, I limited this page to things that got mentioned in the books. Videos are bandwidth eaters, so I didn’t want a page of videos to clog up your processors. I went with links to most of them, but included a few videos from key moments in the stories.

I won’t publish The Ballad of Mrs. Molony until later this year, but I included the music up above. Maybe it will inspire some interest in that tale. When I have a link and cover I’ll make sure to update it. I threw in a couple of tiny Lisa Burton posters for flavor. As I get those for Mrs. Molony, I’ll add one for that book, too.

I’m looking for feedback on this page. If you think I need the artists, let me know. Some of the older tunes don’t have great videos available so I went with what I could find.

I should change the wallpaper from Frankie’s brindle coat to something more summery. My zucchini is trying to bloom, so maybe it’s time for some bright yellow flowers.

Let me know what you think, and if the pointers are centered when you visit, you’ll know I used the good editor to fix what this abomination thinks I need.

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Shifting gears.

It wasn’t part of my long term plans, but I’m going to take a kind of break. This doesn’t mean I’m not writing, It just means I won’t be drafting new stories right now.

This morning I finished the draft for The Ballad of Mrs. Molony. I’m debating a couple more paragraphs, but don’t know if they’re necessary.

This story involves Lizzie and the hat in pursuit of a pair of rodeo cowboys. These guys are now members of the undead. This allows the band, Lizzie and the Pythons, to explore country music as part of catching the bad guys. Made for some cool outfits and hat styles, too.

Lizzie has a small melt-down over the music. At the end she returns to more familiar ground. I could add a couple of paragraphs to show how they weave in some country songs without compromising what they like. Or I could leave it out.

I’m calling it finished, regardless of what I decide. I need to work up some blog ideas for the books, work with my cover artist, decide if I’m spending any promo money, but I doubt it. Think about formatting. Oh yeah, I’m going to need some of those silly graphics to put in Mrs. Molony so as to keep with the theme.

I’m going to be storyboarding, too. The final Lanternfish is going to require a storyboard. I have two novels full of information that I have to stay faithful to. There are a bunch of loose ideas for the finale. A board helps me mold all that into a decent story.

I think next year’s Hat story could benefit from a storyboard, too. I want this one to be more grim with an undertone of sadness, while still keeping the humor going. Not an easy task. It’s my intention to break Lizzie mentally toward the end of the next one. That will lead into another one that has a lot going on including a revisit with the witching community.

Aside from that, I have some stand alone novels that are already in the early phases of storyboards. I should probably hold off on these until Lanternfish is complete.

There’s also reading. I haven’t taken a serious reading break for a long time and there is a lot I want to catch up on. I also have a bit of a blog makeover in mind.

Honestly, if I can get Lanternfish out this summer, then Mrs. Molony for the Halloween season, I will have met my yearly goals. If I don’t write another word this year, I’m in pretty good shape.

Just because I’m not working on a draft does not mean I’m not working. We’re going camping this weekend. I’ll probably do some reading while I’m up there.

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Not tons going on

It’s rare that I get to this point, but the title says it all. Work this week was kind of a disaster, and I’m not excited about the future of some things right now. I won’t say more, but I need to get in another six years or so before I can retire. Craig will play nice. Craig will do what he must.

I didn’t write anything, but still fiddled with the writing business. I sent out a submission for critique on Lanternfish. I also added some personal information to the end of my short story. No idea whether the publisher wants that, but if I don’t send it, I could be shooting myself in the foot.

I still need to read the short one more time, and may do that tomorrow. Mrs. Molony is still hanging around, but since this is my short weekend, I decided to bag it for now. Getting Lanternfish out is my main priority. The critiques are bringing me closer to that goal. I’m a little concerned about having Mrs. Molony ready in time for Halloween.

My artist is busy with Lanternfish projects, so I won’t swamp him with the Mrs. Molony stuff until that’s finished. I have a cover in mind and some fun Lisa ideas to support the story.

I touched up and scheduled my next Story Empire post. That will show up at the end of next week. I really enjoy posting over there, but need another solid idea. My stronger suit is characters, so I should focus on that again. Trying to come up with something for my July posts. Maybe another Expansion Pack or two.

I also started another pin-board on Pinterest. This one is dedicated to magical items and mad science stuff. I like to have reference points when I write and have found them quite helpful. They’re open to anyone, so if they might help you, feel free to help yourselves.

I spent some time finishing Johnathan Strange & Mr. Norrell on Netflix. I heard it was going away, and I’ve seen the early episodes a couple of times over the years. It kind of dragged in the middle, but finished pretty well. It gave me a cool new magical idea, so I made some quick notes before I forgot it. Who knows if I’ll ever use it, but it’s down in one of my apps if the occasion should come along. All in all, I’m glad I stuck with it. I may have caught the first parts on PBS years ago, but never saw the end until this weekend.

I’d like to find something else to watch on either Netflix or Disney+. Something speculative in nature. In another week or so, Disney+ has one that looks fun called Artemis Fowl. Any recommendations until then? Leave them in the comments.

I’ve made an executive decision to stop drafting new material after Mrs. Molony gets published. My brain needs a break for a while. (Three publications per year, two years in a row.) I’ll work on some kind of promo, but have no idea what that will look like. I’m also going to turn my attention to my storyboards. I’d love to produce another stand alone title, but I promised a Lanternfish trilogy. This means when I start back up, Lanternfish III has to be a priority. A more detailed storyboard will help with that.

Hope all of you are having a good weekend. We went from sunny and about about 95 degrees to raining and 70 degrees today. When one extreme front meets another, at least we didn’t get the gigantic winds. We don’t seem to get tornados out west, so that isn’t a worry.

Talk to me people. I’m trying to avoid all the negativity in the world right now. What’s fun on television? What kind of character tips would you like to see at Story Empire? How’s the weather where you are?

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Poking my head above ground

It’s about 10:00 a.m. as I start this post. I just finished the draft of HMS Lanternfish. It’s one hell-of-a-lot bigger than I wanted it to be, but it’s all good stuff.

This is where I start contemplating the old phrase, “Kill your darlings.” It’s an important concept in fiction. Today isn’t the day for that. Today is the day to savor the moment and not dive into something I’m not ready for.

One of the things that occurs to me right now is that every stop the ship made in this adventure involves something important. Every stop does something to advance the story in one way or another. If I start eliminating chapters, characters, or scenes, the story will lose something. If I eliminate some of the monsters and such, it will change the world Lanternfish is set in.

Honestly, in science fiction or fantasy, 120K word volumes are common enough. I didn’t hit that watermark, but I’m not far off.

Only a few of you will know what I’m talking about here, but you can get it from context. If I eliminate Fēngbào, the bringer of storms, or the Omcrom, the story will lose something. Besides, I have a cool Lisa Burton poster on order that involves Lisa vs the Omcrom.

The critique and editing phases always tend to reduce words to a degree, so the count will go down in a small way.

I might eliminate some characters, but who? There are some that were barely used in this volume, but will have a bigger role to play in the final book.

This is why I’m not doing it today. If I send a chapter per week to my crit group, it will take weeks for them to see the end. I have some specific work to do after that, then I always read from start to finish one more time. At this pace, I’ll be lucky to have it out by August.

Somewhere in there, I need to finish The Ballad of Mrs. Molony, too. That ought to clear my head for the Lanternfish read. My hope now is to have Lanternfish out in time that it doesn’t interfere with releasing Mrs. Molony for the Halloween season.

I need to be content today. Show a bit of patience, then turn my attention to the critiques I received over the weekend. I also have a submission to mark up for a partner. Back to the regular grind, tomorrow.

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The weekend warrior

I work during the week, so I have to get my word count on my days off. I’m blessed to have a flex schedule that provides me with an extra day off each week, but it moves around. Sometimes my word counts seem high when I write about them, but if you spread it over a whole week they aren’t any more extraordinary than anyone else.

Today was a slow start for me. I slept in, spent some time for social media, and wasn’t generally feeling it. I also wanted to enjoy my coffee and Old What’s Her Face is off today. I decided to wait until she took the dogs for her coffee, then play ball with them.

It was about 9:00 before I got started. This is the middle volume of a trilogy, so my ending needs to have a complete disaster, while preserving that glimmer of hope they can deal with in the final volume. Yeah, it’s kind of formulaic and I own that. If it works, it works.

My writing turned out to be about a chapter and a half of solid action, and I slightly “told” small bits of it to keep the burner on high for the whole thing. If you think about a city being invaded by an enemy, you need to skip some of the running and hiding and stay with the action. I also included multiple points of view, because it’s a geographically large event.

Even after all that, I still haven’t finished the story. I need to write what is called a sequel to deal with all the things that happened. Staci Troilo is writing an excellent series about that process over at Story Empire.

The crew is in another new location right now. A bit of world building fits in with the flavor of the story. If I’m good, I’ll have one of those inspirational speeches that can lead us into the final volume. I know what remains to include in the story, and where it winds up, but I’m still trying to get there. I’m relatively certain I’ll finish it before I go back to work on Tuesday.

My short story critiques are all back, so I have to deal with those, too. This story needs some work, but it exists and that’s the hard part. Tweaks and repairs aren’t so difficult, and it is a short story.

I’m pretty happy with this Lanternfish tale, but Sundays are hard to get much done. I have other things I regularly do on Sundays. That might be the best day to deal with my short story. Monday will provide a great opportunity to wrap up HMS Lanternfish.

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Missed it by thiiiis much

I hit it hard this weekend. I was so close to finishing H.M.S. Lanternfish I could taste it. Needless to say from the title, I never made it. I blame Rusty, but let’s concentrate on the positives.

I just received critiques back on one chapter, but have about three more written. I also received cover art, and followed this up with ordering the first Lisa Burton promotional poster.

My short story is in the can, but I need to pass over it one more time, then get some other eyes to check it out. I already checked with them, and they’re on board. I’ll probably send it out PDQ. I still need to figure out a title.

Inside Lanternfish, I have a lot going on in these closing chapters. There’s a bit of intrigue and some crazy things, too. I’m going to end it with a lot of daring do, and kind of a disaster at the same time. This is going to be a challenge to pull off, and maybe it’s good that I ran out of time. It might be best to tackle this when I’m fresh so the balance comes out well.

Remember when I said the middle volume of a trilogy is usually the shortest one? Yeah, I was wrong. This one is going to be every bit as long as the first, and may exceed it to a small degree.

All combined, I hit about 9700 words over the four days. That’s nothing to cry about. I’m down to counting weeks before I can send it to my formatter and think about publishing. Honestly, I’m probably about six or seven weeks out. That’s mid-July sometime.

That timetable will depend on me, my mentors and helpers, and Sean Harrington with the promotional posters. It may seem absurd, but I’m already concerned about my ability to have The Ballad of Mrs. Molony available for the Halloween season.

I think I’ll make it all work, and while Lanternfish is aging, I can add words to Mrs. Molony. I need to avoid taking on any more projects and it should be fine.

It’s fun to lament the completion of the draft, but honestly I couldn’t be happier. Even though I lost some time on Saturday and Sunday, I wouldn’t trade a visit with my daughter for a few more words.

Hope all of you had a great weekend whatever you were doing.

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And then Rusty showed up

I already posted about my 3500 words on Friday. I’m on the downhill slide of Lanternfish, and it’s getting fun to move toward the big event that ends book two.

Old What’s Her Face has to work all four days I’m off, so getting to the conclusion is a real possibility. I added 2500 more words on Saturday morning. This included the creation of another new creature called a snubhorn, who is basically a beast of burden.

I needed to think the next bit through, and turned to my short story. Normally, I would jump to Mrs. Molony, but the short story has a deadline. I wound up finishing it, but it needs a little something. It’s going to be a bit short for the desired word count, but I don’t want to lengthen it only for that.

Then Rusty showed up. My daughter decided to drop in for a visit, but she brought Rusty with her. This is the leftover from a litter of Rottweiler puppies her roommate had bred. Since nobody wanted him, she decided to keep him.

I’m here to liven up your life.

I love seeing my daughter, but Rusty is a handful. He’s a perpetual motion machine, and licks everything. As he walks he licks the couch, the footstool, the chair, my shoe, the wall, whatever is within reach. It’s cute, but weird. He also get’s Frankie pretty fired up, to the point of angry sometimes.

He’s also gangly. He slid across the dining room floor, into the kitchen with all four paws in the air. He impacted the pantry doors and I had to put them back on track.

I worry, because he’s an intact male Rottweiler. Otto is also intact, and I would like to see Rusty start staying in Sun Valley when our daughter visits. He’s twice as big as he was when he came in April, and while he’s cute, Otto doesn’t need that shit. I’ve been around a lot of dogs, and Rusty is going to be huge when he grows up.

My daughter took him to town for a few hours this morning, and I added another 1500 words to Lanternfish. It isn’t a lot, but it’s better than nothing. It’s important stuff, too, so that helps. Then she came home and gave me a haircut.

As I’m writing this, Old What’s Her Face took our daughter to the store. There was some talk about buying something for dinner, so I have a hunch Rusty will impact my Monday writing plans, too.

All told, there isn’t a downside. I get to visit with my daughter, got a haircut, and honestly get a kick out of this gigantic weird puppy. I just wouldn’t want a steady diet of him.

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