Tag Archives: holiday

Back to the Grind

That’s a wrap. We had a lovely small Thanksgiving. It was great visiting, and I even enjoyed having Jackson around. My daughter cut my hair while she was here.

She picked up supplies, then headed for home. I loaded my truck and went to the office to exchange projects for next week, since I’m still being quarantined. Old What’s Her Face has been cleared to return to work, but I have to stay home for two more weeks.

I’ve been writing along in the early hours while everyone else sleeps. I did the wrap up of Serang’s last battle and pointed her on the trail to her ultimate goal. I kind of want to write a chapter of my con-men, but it only amounts to about a page. That seems kind of short for a chapter. All this while Lanternfish is still in dry dock an ocean away. I need to launch that ship and get her into action soon.

There’s been another “murder” in the hat story. I have a theory how Lizzie is going to hunt this monster, but it conflicts with narrowing down its hunting area. It looks like I’m going to have to give them another month to start putting the more important pieces together.

I carried my coffee into the bedroom, closed the door, then sat down beside the bed. “I’m having some problems.”

A sound like rustling leaves came from under the bed. Dried cornstalks grabbed onto the frame and pulled something heavy closer. “Well, well, well. Look who’s back.”

“I know it’s been a long time. Work, family, the Muse keeps me hopping.”

“And now you’re stumped again. Is that it?”

“Yeah. I need monsters. Since you’re the resident expert, I thought I’d come to you. The cornstalks are a nice touch.”

“Yeah. I like to change things up. It’s Autumn.”

“How’s Missing-Sock monster?”

“She left me. Remember the “It” movies?”

“Yeah.”

“She became a roadie for him.”

“Bummer.”

“So what kind of monsters do you need?”

“It’s Lanternfish.”

“Still? Haven’t you been writing that one for years?”

“It’s a trilogy. Kind of yes, and kind of no. It’s just that I’ve spent so much time with sea monsters, I’m having a hard time adjusting to dry land again.”

“Why not stick with what you’re good at?”

“I will. I want to reuse the tortugators in at least one scene. It stitches the books together to a degree, but a lot of this story will occur on dry land. It’s a fantasy world, so I need to keep it similar, but fresh.”

“But these books aren’t about conquering the monster, are they?”

“No. It’s more of a global war kind of thing.”

“I might posit that you don’t want monsters. What you’re looking for are fantasy creatures to pepper your landscape with.”

“That’s exactly it. Why didn’t I think of it myself? I mean, I have the snubhorns. They’re horselike creatures, but they scavenge a bit of flesh to keep everyone uncomfortable.”

“I think you’re too close to it. Hunt your werewolf for a few chapters in the other story, then come back to it. What would the area look like in reality? You might have birds, bugs, a herd of grazing animals. Now redesign everything. You need something that flys, something that herds together, that kind of thing. They aren’t really monsters.”

“Thanks, Under-the-Bed monster. That really helps. Do you have any prospects lined up since your girl left?”

“Not so much. That little dog makes me play Nylabones when you’re gone. The big guy sleeps until you come back.”

“Yeah, Frankie is a little intense with her bones.”

“Oh, I don’t know. I kind of enjoy it.”

“Good for you. Just don’t become like a crazy cat lady. There’s a nice culvert across the park about thirty feet from here.”

“Yeah? Maybe I’ll check it out.”

“Get yourself out there. You never know who, or what, you’ll meet.”

“I think I will, and Craig?”

“Yeah.”

“Don’t be a stranger. I enjoy our little conversations.”

“You’ve got it.”

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Independence Day

I had every intention of updating with a post about what I’ve been working on. Company is still here, so it doesn’t amount to much. I still need to address the critique feedback I’ve received.

With today being a holiday, I decided to recycle one of Lisa’s best posters and wish you all a happy 4th of July. If you aren’t in the USA, you can still enjoy the poster.

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Happy Fourth of July

Everyone be careful with Fireworks out there.

Lisa Burton

Old What’s Her Face went to visit her brother for a few days. I’ll be keeping the dogs company during the neighborhood fireworks, and probably downing a beer or two.

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Happy Thanksgiving

Today is a national holiday here in the USA. We set this day aside to give thanks for the benefits we’ve enjoyed in the previous year. Unfortunately, it’s changed from a day of feasting and family to a minor event.

Christmas shopping is the big deal, and we want to forget all about the Pilgrims, Indians, and turkeys. I have to work tomorrow, so my family will have to do their Black Friday shopping without me – darn it.

I’m thankful for the many friends I’ve made through this medium. I’ve met mentors, mentees, fans, friends, and colleagues here. I hope next year brings even more.

I find inspiration in many places, music, people watching, film, and art. Today, I want to talk about art. There is an outstanding artist named, Jaroslav Weiczorkiewicz. He is a photographer with mad Photoshop skills. He is replicating the old-school pinup art, but putting his unique spin on things. He basically throws milk at his models, and takes thousands of photographs of the resulting splash. Then he goes into the studio and uses Photoshop to create one image of the model wearing a milk dress.

These have been around for a few years now, and I was always impressed by them. It takes a unique mind to come up with something like this, and a patient and talented person to pull off the final product.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, Lisa Burton would like to remind you all to save room for dessert today. Happy Thanksgiving from Entertaining Stories.

Lisa Burton

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I’m calling it; Thanksgiving is dead

I grew up in a huge family. It was large because my grandparents came from large families. This means I had tons of great aunts and great uncles. When any of them showed up for Thanksgiving, and brought their kids, we regularly seated 30 or more people.

Times change. My second cousins grew up and have families of their own, as do I. The great aunts & uncles are mostly dead now, along with my grandparents. The all night pinochle events are a thing of the past.

We still manage the occasional big celebration, but I live in a different state than everyone else now.

This year, it’s just my wife and I. She works at a hospital and has to work Thanksgiving day. I will pre-bake my dinner rolls the night before and put the turkey on in the morning. She will show up mid day and we will have our dinner. I have to work Friday, but it’s a government job.

I respect the idea that some professions work. I want the hospitals open, the fire station on standby, and the military available. Our daughter works retail, and has to work Thanksgiving day. This I don’t understand.

People today aren’t as close as they used to be. We’re obsessed with our cell phones and social media. Couples even text each other over a common table; I’ve seen it. Thanksgiving is archaic by today’s standards.

Black Friday erased Thanksgiving from our culture. Heaven forbid we miss shopping in favor of sharing a meal with the family and friends we only see occasionally. I can see a day where people will forget how to cook a turkey. Mom took them shopping instead of showing the kids the ropes. Might as well, the stores are open. Maybe someday they’ll breed turkeys the size of cornish game hens. That way some of us can hold onto the tradition for another decade or so. Once I become part of the oldest generation, this holiday will be a quaint memory like so many others.

Twenty years from now, people will stop at Subway for a turkey sandwich on their way to Wal-Mart, and that will be the entirety of Thanksgiving. I’m not preaching here, I used to go shopping on Black Friday too, when I was younger. I even like the idea. I don’t like the idea that it has to become Black Thursday now.

It would take an effort of the common people to turn this around, and that isn’t possible. We can’t seem to get more than about 20% to vote on election day. If all of us refused to shop on Thanksgiving, the merchants would stop requiring family disbandment that day. Even if we only took advantage of online shopping it would help. The problem is families don’t really care anymore. This goes back to our social media and cell phones. I’ve seen my own kids texting people at Thanksgiving dinner in the past.

So I’m calling it. Get the toe tag out, Thanksgiving is dead. Park it over next to Pearl Harbor Day and VE Day, other days that were important to a fading generation. I’ll just mix up a Tom & Jerry and reminisce.

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The Muse at Work

Today is a holiday in the USA. I had a hard time deciding what to work on. I need to edit Wild Concept, and I want to write new words on Will ‘O the Wisp.

I can edit with distractions, but writing is best in solitude. Today was perfect for writing, so I headed for the writing cabin.

Lisa* was waiting on the porch with Bunny as I made a safety pass over the runway. I know she wants me to edit her story, and publish it, but I decided to write.

Lisa was a good sport about it, and wore one of her Stevie Nicks outfits. I went into the new writing room and threw the switch. The bone chandelier sparked and gave the room a soft glow.

Doubt** was still in the other writing room, and I decided to leave him there. Lisa let Bunny play on the floor, and hung a pot of chicken and dumplings in the fireplace. She opened the bell jar and let the Will ‘O the Wisp loose to bounce around the room.

My Muse never showed herself, but I knew she was there. My new story moved forward by leaps and bounds. It was even better than I had planned.

At one time, I needed my main character, Patty, to go through a storage room. I plowed through the cabinets Lisa filled with decorations in this mad science, alchemy, witchcraft writing office for inspiration. It worked, and I wrote about Patty finding some interesting stuff. I thought I was pretty clever how it all worked out too.

Patty doesn’t know how it will all work out, but I have a pretty good idea. There was a character I never outlined that made an appearance. I’ve never written a ghost before, but it fit the story well. I left her in place, and expanded her role. I even managed to hint at a bit of backstory without being intrusive. I may clue Patty in at the end, but I’m a long ways from there.

I’m pretty happy with myself, but my battery and my brain are telling me to stop. So far this weekend my word count is up to 41,563. That’s 3500 words, and I took a vacation day tomorrow too.

I moved over to the chair, and dragged the ottoman under my feet. “Do you have any more of that spooky bubbling coffee?”

“Are you finished?” Lisa asked, and filled my mug.

“Just with this part,” I said. “You and I still have work to do on your story.”

“Do you mean it? Are you just going to shift gears like that?” she asked.

“Why not? The more I work on your story, the more I’m into it. It’s a good story, and the only way we’re going to get it out there is to work on it. Are you up for it today?”

She made a sound something like ‘squee’, and ran for the door. “Drink your coffee. I have to change. I want to be more like my story while we work on it.” She sped up her talking as she headed into the hall. “WatchBunnyforme,I’lltrytohurry.I’msoexcited,berightback.”

I reached over and rubbed Bunny behind his floppy ears. A moment of peace and quiet.

Lisa’s voice came over the phone. I didn’t know this room even had a phone. It was some kind of black plastic cone that sat vertically on the sideboard. “Your lunch is ready, but you have to dish it up yourself. I’m going to fix my hair while you eat. Oh, and can you give Bunny some beet tops from the refrigerator?”

I looked around for a button, but settled for a switch on the side. “Um sure. We’ll be ready before you are.”

* Lisa is the main character in Wild Concept. She is a robot, and works as my assistant at the cabin. (Bunny is her giant pet rabbit)

** Doubt is a raven. He was a gift from my Muse.

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Maybe I’m too subtle

I see blog readers from Vietnam, Canada, India, and more. In the US we have a major holiday called Thanksgiving. The Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving, but it’s a different day.

The holiday involves a major feast where turkey is the main course. I wanted to reflect the seasons on my blog, but I might be too subtle. The background image is of wild turkey tracks in the snow.

I’m really excited to have international readers and followers. This explanation is so they can be in on my subtitle holiday reference too.

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