Tag Archives: Lanternfish

My flex day

I started off kind of slow today. Got a chance to sleep in and I took it. This means I was probably less productive than I could have been, but I’m ahead of the game right now.

Let’s face it, I could publish another Hat story tomorrow. It’s a cool position to be in, and I’d like to sustain it for a while. Less pressure is nice for a change.

I still managed to break the 80K word mark on my WIP. That makes it a novel in my mind. I’m going to ignore the old rules about making science fiction a bit longer. These are going to be geared more to a modern audience, and since it’s a trilogy, there will be more of the galaxy to cover.

Percy the Space Chimp has one more big event in this book, then it’s finished. I left them hanging out at their favorite backwater planet and can pick the story back up this weekend.

Jackson the cat decided to help me today. He seems to want to sleep either in my lap or on my keyboard. I think he’s uber-cute, but I could use a break once in a while.

Jackson will be going away soon. Our daughter finally found an apartment she can afford. It’s in a different city than her job, so she’s got a long commute ahead of her from now on. I weep for the plight of our young people. America doesn’t pay enough for them to make ends meet today, and rentals are so expensive now. Still, she gets to keep the job that she loves, and that makes me happy. I’ll miss having her around.

The blog tour for Good Liniment has finally ended. (I hear a small cheer across the universe.) It’s not enough to write a good story today. You have to do something to spread the word, and the word has been spread. We had some fun topics and every post was unique. Sold a few books, too, so that’s a bonus.

I’ve seen some reviews for both Good Liniment and Wreck of the Lanternfish lately. Remember, those are both still linked in my sidebar. Any author appreciates reviews, so if you read one of them I would be grateful for a few minutes of your time to share your thoughts.

Lanternfish needs to be read in order since it’s a trilogy. Good Liniment is a stand alone title in The Hat Series, and all of them can be read out of order.

In other news, I spent a couple hours reading a book I’m really enjoying, but it requires a lot of focus. It’s a good tale, so I’m sticking with it. It’s just hard to read in some sections.

I also managed to take a short nap this afternoon. This is something I’ve grown more insistent on whenever I’m off. They rarely surpass 30 minutes, but make me feel so good. Judge me if you want, but I kind of like them.

Back to work tomorrow.

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Something stupid, but I fixed it

I’ve been a little disappointed in the performance of Wreck of the Lanternfish. There were a lot of people who loved the first book and encouraged me to turn it into a series. Book two did fine, and Serang picked up a lot of fans of her solo story. Why didn’t the final volume draw those same readers?

I mentioned both here and at Story Empire that most of my action has been via pages-read on Kindle Unlimited. Sales are kind of rare these days, but readers love being able to read for free.

I don’t check Amazon stats all that often, but I cruised through the other day. A friend said he was enjoying The Hat, and I thought I might find a review eventually. That’s when I noticed my error. Wreck of the Lanternfish was not available via Kindle Unlimited.

I don’t have any idea why not, I always try to set my books up there. Admittedly, some of the older ones aren’t, but Lanternfish absolutely should be. It is now. If you’ve passed this one up because of this, never fear.

Look at the sidebar.

Click on that cover and enjoy a bit of piracy. I have no idea how this happened, maybe the root monsters were “helping” me that day.

In other news, I got a manuscript back from my formatter. If I can glean it this weekend, I could publish at any time. I’ll take some time to write promotional posts, and I have to consider three new Lisa Burton posters that should be shared somewhere.

Here’s a little hint as to what might be coming…

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#NewBook Hoist the Colors, one more time…

I spent my weekend publishing “Wreck of the Lanternfish.” I swore this would come out in 2021, and now it has.

Amazon took it’s sweet time, and I ran into a few glitches along the way. For whatever reason, Apple decided to reduce the size of my cover when I save it. This led me to search back through a couple of thousand posts for Sean Harrington’s original mail to find an image the correct size. It seems Apple Mail does not have a search feature. My saved image at least tagged the date, and that helped a bit.

This led me to create a folder for Sean’s delivery emails. Since I was on a mission, I also dug out the cover for Good Liniment and saved it there, too.

It took a day to get through Amazon’s review, then a few more hours to publish, but it’s there now. Then it took even more time to attach to the series. I still haven’t seen the numbering sequence correct, but assume that’s coming. Voyage of the Lanternfish still shows as book one of two, instead of book one of three. At least the book is available now.

I also learned we can link other titles to the series without making them part of the series. This probably isn’t new, but it’s new to me. I updated Serang to populate when someone links to the trilogy.

While I was waiting, I gave Entertaining Stories a facelift. Some new wallpaper and the underwater banner image felt appropriate.

James Cuttler created a peaceful spot for he and his wife to settle down. Far from the war that ravages their homeland, far from the reputation he earned as the notorious pirate Captain Bloodwater, and far from responsibility.

A royal Prelonian houseguest is a constant reminder of what’s at stake half a world away, of the friends he put ashore to fight the war. He lives in a dream world that’s temporary, at best. It’s only a matter of time before his guest is identified and the black assassins come for her.

He mortgages his precious vineyard to pay for repairs to his ship. If nothing else, Lanternfish will be one of the most powerful ships in the war, if he’s not already too late.

James will have to merge the skills of commander and con man into something new to make this work. He’ll need to avoid those on his own side who would hang him for piracy.

Serang is half a world away, leading her army of mercinary swordsmen toward the Fulminites. Mistrusted by both sides of the war, she appears as a third combatant on the battlefield. She may eliminate the mysterious order, only to succumb to the demons of her own tragic past.

Strap on your swords and hoist the colors one more time as the thrilling Lanternfish Trilogy comes to an end.

Wreck of the Lanternfish purchase link

Trilogy link

****

I know many of you are reluctant to start a series until it concludes. If that was your concern, fear no more. I’ll be taking this book out on tour, but will wait until after Thanksgiving to start. It’s probably the worst time, since it’s not a Christmas story, but maybe some folks prefer to avoid Christmas stories. This is an alternative.

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All that other stuff

It’s been hard to come up with blog fodder lately. There isn’t that much interesting stuff happening. I’m still trying to figure out some October promo. I’d better get it together, because it will be here before I know what’s happening.

I came up with a series for Three Act Structure I want to post on Story Empire. One of them is hacked out, but I want to let it ferment for a day or two before I schedule it. The others should be easy enough to create when I need my next post.

A friend is going on a release tour. I assembled all her materials and scheduled her stop ahead of time. I always give priority to others, and try to make sure they’re taken care of.

I’m still swimming in Asian pears. I tried baking one the other day, but didn’t give it enough time in the oven. I also needed better things to stuff it with. Might try it again. I ate a couple fresh from the tree today, so I should be good on the fiber meter.

This afternoon, I sent another chapter to my Critique group. Sometime in the next week I should have them all back. My next amazing stunt has to be sending Lanternfish to the formatter. I want it to come out sometime in November.

Other than that, I dabbled on my side project for a while. Came to 1300 words, so nothing all that special.

Oh, and I spent an hour on the phone with my daughter. She has raccoons in her yard and sent some pictures. They look like this year’s babies and are probably looking for something to eat. Cute, but best to stay away from them.

Doesn’t seem like a lot for a week. I used to blog three times per week, plus host Lisa Burton Radio. This year has really gotten to me and I don’t seem to have some of the same mojo.

Hope all of you had good weeks and have better weekends.

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Slow weekend

This was one of my two day weekends. These seem to happen more frequently around holidays, and it is what it is. That didn’t leave much time for author chores.

Our daughter came to visit on Friday. She spent the night and I had a wonderful visit with her on Saturday. No lamenting that time. I really enjoyed our time together, but it didn’t leave much room for anything else.

Still loaded with Asian pears. I tried to send a bag home with my daughter, but she passed. I might have to look up some recipes for them.

I really boogered up the last chapter of Good Liniment I shared with my critique group. I spent the rest of Saturday trying to repair it, and still don’t like it.

I spent this morning talking to my parents. They got to go pick choke cherries, and I’m kind of jealous. It sounds like such a nice day afield. Things like that aren’t in the cards for me right now, so I’ll have to live through their adventures.

This afternoon, I went beyond the crappy chapter, and some of the repairs seemed to work better there. Still don’t feel confident about it. I’ve gone from being excited to worried about this book.

Hopefully, by 2022, I’ll get over it. I have so many ideas for Lizzie and the hat, and this story needs to be one of them in my mind. I even made some notes to improve a story that’s four books down the line.

I spent a little time trying to cobble together something for a bit of October promo. That’s always been my best month, and while I don’t have a new release for the Halloween season, I have plenty of options to draw some interest.

I also wrote back material for Wreck of the Lanternfish. I got a little emotional addressing the eventual readers. I’ve spent a lot of time and effort with these characters over the last few years. It’s nearly ready to go. Once I get paid, I’ll probably contact my formatter. Or, I might read through it once again. Who knows.

That’s it for my author’s time. It might not seem like much, but I moved the pegs a little on several projects. I didn’t write any new words, but there will be other weekends.

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Not a lot to show for this weekend

I try to stay busy, I always do, but sometimes there isn’t a lot to show for my efforts.

It started off with a visit from our daughter. I’m a firm believer that family comes first, so I never tried to do anything until she went home. We had a nice visit, and she even managed to cut my hair while she was here.

Had to deal with a loss of power to the deep freeze. This involved a stupid GFI switch. We didn’t lose anything, but had some things we had to cook PDQ. I discovered it because my beer mugs didn’t get frosty overnight.

Beyond that, it was all “Stuff.” I worked on something for Teri Polen’s Bad Moon Rising, but it isn’t ready yet. I worked all the way to the end of the Lanternfish story. I feel like I caught most things, but I always miss something. Reading it once more might help. I’d like to publish it sometime in November.

I also dedicated some time to Good Liniment. Nothing too earth shattering, but I reworded a few sections prior to sharing it with my critique group. I included a text thread in this section, because Hat stories include dumb things. It looks like they all came across the right way. One never knows when I text my daughter, photograph the screen, upload it to Apple Pages, then leave Apple to share it in Word format. My daughter and I had fun creating the texts.

Then there were graphics. I’m not a graphics guy, but I took a tip from Harmony Kent, then assembled the rest by hand in a graphics program I have. The end results weren’t too bad, and I might use them one day.

Word count, not so much. Certainly less than a thousand words. I’m not feeling any kind of rush on this project, so I’m not going to lament this. It’s supposed to be a side project, and I’m going to treat it that way.

It’s kind of productive, but not in a way I can demonstrate. I think next weekend will be similar. I’m ahead for a change, so I’m not going to beat myself up over it. Eventually, the side project will cause me to start a main project. Lanternfish will come out, and I’ll have to figure out some promo for it. Maybe early next year I’ll release Good Liniment.

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Yo ho ho, it’s a trilogy.

No real interruptions today. I made sure to follow my routine, and wound up making changes to existing material. I discovered that I’d gone over Mule and Yoshiko’s ending twice. Both were good material, but one seemed to fall in a better location. It’s odd for me to make a mistake like this, but I had to delete one section.

I also had to go back and add in a bit about Mal, the witch doctor. It wasn’t much, but he has fans and they will want to know how he wound up. He’s doing things on his terms, and I kind of like it that way.

I don’t mind telling you that I teared up at a few points. I know my characters are outrageous, but I designed them that way. Giving them a suitable ending was hard, but they all make sense. Readers will be left with a vision of the future for not only the characters, but the government in general.

Not everyone lived through this adventure. When there is a war, 100% survival seems unrealistic. That part was written months ago, but I worry about how it will be received.

Another concern is that a big part of this final adventure happens on land. I saw it as facing James’s weaknesses. He has to work where he is least comfortable to pull this off.

This yarn came in about 10,000 words shorter than the others. I am not worried about that. As the end of a trilogy, there is a bigger denouement, but I don’t want to drag it out either. In a classical sense, this is the one where you party with Ewoks.

The trilogy will end with plenty of cannonades, martial arts, a few con games, a haunted knife, and yes there are root monsters. I’m going to leave it in the fermenter for a month before I look at it again.

I don’t want to drop any spoilers, at least until I’m closer to publication. I’ve been sitting on the cover art for months, and thought perhaps you’d enjoy a sneak peek. It’s kind of a spoiler itself, but it’s too good not to share.

In other news, I spent last night creating a set of throwing bones that will make an appearance in the next Hat story. I may turn my attention to that storyboard, or I may download a book and read. Right now, I’m just letting it all soak in and will decide later.

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Another 4000

Something strange happened at the office on Thursday. As our workday wound down, we all got an email that everything would be closed for a new federal holiday on Friday. The feeling around the office was uplifting. I didn’t know what to do with myself on Friday, so Old What’s Her Face and I just hung out together.

She volunteered for a shift at work today, so I had the house to myself. I planned it for a writing day, and we’ll be together again tomorrow.

I started early and left doors open while it was still cool. I started like I always do, by rereading what came before, and making some small modifications.

As Lanternfish winds down, I have a lot of small sections to create. This leads to a lot of page breaks, but I like what I’m seeing. Everyone is starting to display a degree of independence, and it feels natural now that warfare and piracy are over for most of them. I planned this part out so the words are flowing pretty fast.

Everyone needs to move on, and they aren’t going to do that as a crew. I have a lot of characters to deal with, and I’m taking them in tiers just like I’ve always done. Lesser characters will get a paragraph or two. More major characters will get a deeper dive into their futures.

I’m keeping in mind that a lot of readers had favorites, and want to bring everyone a bit of closure, even if it’s only a line or two.

The country is healing now, and things are looking positive. I should mention there are still root monster antics going on. Some of you became pretty attached to them, and I have something good in mind for them later.

I’m stopping a few words short of 4000 today. I might even finish the draft in another strong writing day, but we’ll see. It will be a little shorter than the first books in the trilogy, but still fit into a fantasy length.

I love it once the middle slog ends and the words just flow. I enjoyed myself today, and I think readers will like it, too.

Did any of you gain a Juneteenth holiday? Did you get some writing time in? Are you doing something fun?

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One for the books

Family time managed to cut into the four days I had available. I’ve already posted about graduation. About all there is to do there is attend for the graduate.

We went to a party at my son’s house to celebrate her accomplishment, and it was anything but small and intimate.

When Sunday came around, my wife had to work. That left my daughter and I to have a long visit. I called my parents while she went for her fancy coffee, then we had several hours to ourselves.

I really enjoyed spending quality father-daughter time. The topics don’t matter very much, it was just the time hanging out that mattered.

This morning, I had the house to myself. I fed the dogs, then started off with a small walk to clear the cobwebs. I’d been suffering for time to work on Lanternfish, and then it only moved ahead by small increments.

That wasn’t what happened today. When I stopped last time, the end of the war was upon us. I started today with the formal surrender.

After that it was time to reoccupy the city, and start reconstruction of several countries. Some of this doesn’t lend itself to fantasy, but I managed to show the cooks with pieces of something I called the river dog. It has huge calamari type tentacles.

I also discovered the bag moth larva on Pinterest. These things cover themselves with twigs and sand, much like a caddis fly, only they are land born. By making mine much larger, I added an interesting scene where one had a pistol woven into its home. It makes a little statement about the litter of war and shows life going on. I called mine the bag weevil.

I could write another novel about the reconstruction and all the political gyrations between allies and enemies, but this is supposed to be the denouement for Lanternfish. I have a lot of characters to get to, and while the main ones will get more attention, some of the minor ones were somebody’s favorites and I need to address them, too.

A lot of planning went into this phase and you can see the value in the 5800 words I wrote today. I could have kept going, but didn’t want to rush things.

Next weekend isn’t looking too favorable, but I might get a few hours. I only had a goal of 2021 for this book. I think I can publish it in the fall and not feel rushed to get it out. That gives me plenty of time in the fermenter, and some decent hours for polishing it up.

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Serang has arrived

I didn’t get a lot of opportunity to write this weekend, but accomplished something I’ve been working toward for a long time.

This final Lanternfish book is going to require a big denouement. I have a lot of characters to account for, and a lot to do once the war ends. The story stands at 74,000 words right now.

These books have all been over 100K. Since they are epic fantasy, that’s an acceptable amount. In this story, they’ve been on different continents, then different parts of the same continent. James and his group have been split into smaller groups based upon the winds of war.

Today, James and his advisors are with the Prelonian army on the outskirts of Airstony. This is the Prelonian capital, but it’s held by the Hollish. It’s been a brutal road getting here, and he’s lost track of his son along the way. Many of his long term crew are deployed elsewhere.

Serang’s path hasn’t been much easier, but she’s marched from victory to victory. So far they haven’t seen each other since the middle of the last book.

The Prelonians are outmatched by the Hollish in this battle. Their supply lines are precarious overland routes, while the Hollish can be supplied by sea.

I’m going to stop here for the weekend. Serang is here, and she’s bringing the secret to everything with her. I want a few commutes to dwell on my next words. The war is about to wind down, and the reconstruction is about to begin.

My co-main characters will occupy the same pages for the first time this year. I’m kind of excited about it.

Lisa Burton, Serang
Lisa Burton, Serang

Serang has arrived.

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