Tag Archives: Lisa Burton

A writer’s holiday

After the goof off weekend, I planned on one more day of writing. It turned out pretty well, but wasn’t a banner day. My iPad battery says it’s time to recharge, so I’m writing this while it’s on the wire.

I have two of three critiques back for Serang, and will wait for the remaining one. Maybe I can address all of them come Saturday.

Today I focused on the unnamed team-up adventure. I stopped doing word counts, but it feels like about 2000. Lizzie and the hat had a small spat, because they always do. They teamed up with Clovis to chase a red herring that revealed a big surprise. Of course he busted some heads along the way, because that’s what he does. He even got to kill a zombie using a sledge hammer. Fun, fun, fun.

Oh, and Lizzie and the hat stole a second upright bass. It was right there, what were they supposed to do?

Lisa and Jason got the last scene, so they faded into the background for this section. Jason is thinking about going home and cutting his losses. Gina and Gupta shared a new development that raised the stakes and anchored everyone until the end.

I have a conundrum with this one. I want it at novel length, but it’s looking like about 50,000 words will wrap it up. I’ve always said a story should be as long as it needs to be, no more – no less. I still believe that.

My problem is that I have enough 99¢ titles out there. If someone needs a stepping stone into my work, there are plenty of options, even a couple of free anthologies. I want to price this one at $2.99 like most of my recent work. I’d like some feedback here, but I won’t pad word count. I have several big scenes, and can’t be completely sure until I wrap it up. What’s your advice on pricing? Would you pay $2.99 for a short novel?

Keep in mind that my publishing desire is Serang before school lets out, then the un-named project around Halloween. I may park the unnamed one, finish Serang, then see if more ideas pop up for the unnamed one during the Spring.

In other news, the experimental bread rose well overnight. Sourdough is slow and you have to be patient. I punched it down before sunrise, but it’s taking its sweet time on the second rise. If I need to nudge it a bit, I’ll place it on a hot pad.

For the rest of the day, I’ll kick back and wait for the black helicopters to land. Why you ask? These are the windows I have open in my browser. It could give you some insight into both stories I’m working on right now.

  • My blog, Entertaining Stories.
  • Yin and Yang comparison.
  • Viral Hemorrhagic Fever.
  • Marburg Virus.
  • English to Chinese translator.
  • The Chinese Cobra.
  • Three different tabs for an online convention I’m interested in.
  • A chart about how fast Ebola spreads.
  • A map of the districts in Chicago.
  • Amazon for Voyage of the Lanternfish. (I was checking for new reviews. I need more.)

What’s your browsing history look like?

This afternoon, I have to get on with an interview for Lisa Burton Radio. Interest in these has tapered off, but I’m still doing them. I may use the online convention to push them a bit more.

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Pulling back the veil

I wanted to hold some of this back, but I find myself lacking for things to blog about. I have some goals that are kind of opposed to each other for the year, and I’m going to have to make a small change.

Lisa BurtonOne of my goals was to include more posts from the writing cabin. This is where my robotic assistant and I plan out the day, and write the stories. This is hard to do when she isn’t there, and that’s the big problem.

I’ve started writing a book that includes Lisa Burton. That plays into my year of sequels, and it’s kind of a crazy idea, because it’s a sequel to multiple books. It makes for a fun learning experience, because I have to live with character histories. I also have to make it stand alone if someone hasn’t read a previous book. Actually, it’s a wonderful goal.

Here are the players in this story:

  • The Playground – Gina Greybill, Mohan Gupta, Justine, and Clovis.
  • The Experimental Notebook of C.S. Boyack 1 & 2 – Lisa Burton, and Jason Fogg.
  • Wild Concept – Lisa Burton
  • The Hat – Lizzie and the hat

There are going to be some minor characters who appear too. Others will be a nod within the story, like The Enhanced League. I have a surprise or two along the way that I’ll keep close to the vest for now.

I had a fun teaser idea where I would post some old blues video and a Lisa Burton poster, then stay quiet about the whole thing. Invite followers to guess as to what’s happening. I think that would have worked well, and I can still do it without the guessing.

Part of the fun is making sure everyone gets their moment to shine. At this point, it’s coming out very well, without a whole lot of backstory to clog it up.

Aside from the goal of “Entertaining Stories” there could be some additional benefit here too. Some people love Lisa, Clovis, the hat. Here is their chance to revisit them. Hopefully, the line will work both ways. Maybe someone reads this book, then decides to learn more about Lizzie and the hat, or Jason Fogg.

Best of all, I’m having a good time. If there isn’t any money in this business, fun is all that remains. Fun also translates to the page and makes the books better.

Right now, I’m fast approaching 25K words. So far, Lisa gets along with everyone. Clovis and the hat seem to be finding common ground. Lizzie is fine with Lisa and Gina. Jason is a bit standoffish, but he always was.

Today, Clovis broke off from the group, because he’s like that. He gathered evidence in a way that only Clovis can. After depositing the bodies, he and the dog went out for hotdogs.

When I stopped for the day, the group compared Clovis’ findings with Lisa’s web searches to get closer to an answer. Right now the clues are organized crime, pharmaceuticals, and two kinds of zombies. At the end of this writing day, someone mentioned the word wraith.

I mention this, so you can see how Gina, Lizzie, and the hat might tie in. Gina is a doctor who fights paranormal evils. Lizzie and the hat use a kind of symbiosis to become a paranormal avenger… and to play rockabilly music in a band.

I’m making Lizzie and the hat kind of the lead into the story, but others will have their moments to shine. I’m going to include some fun graphics like I did in The Hat, and even have an alternate ending worked out. I’m going to include this after my author section kind of like the end of a Marvel Comics based movie, because it’s fun, and because I can.

At the same time, I’ve also been writing a book called Serang. This one is a stand alone story, but is previous to Voyage of the Lanternfish. Serang is a neat character from Lanternfish, and she wanted me to tell her story. I’ve taken her from childhood to teenager. The last bit I worked on has her talking to an ethereal dragon. She hates dragons, but might wind up finding some peace with them. It’s also in the 25K word count area.

Not too bad for a weekend warrior like myself. Winter is the best time for me to write, so I want to sling the words while I can.

Eventually, I’ll have to park one of them so I can complete the other one. It would be fabulous to release them both this year. Ideally, Serang before school lets out, and the unnamed team-up somewhere before Halloween.

It’s a tough goal, but it is possible with a bit of luck.

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Truth and the Serpent, on #LisaBurtonRadio

Lisa Burton

Welcome to this week’s edition of Lisa Burton Radio. I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl. They say fame is fleeting, but is it really? What if you were involved in something so nefarious that your legend held on for centuries, eternity even? We’re not taking flavor-of-the-month on some reality show, or a public meltdown by some YouTube sensation. This is the big time. Let’s give a warm welcome to this week’s special guest the Serpent, and I mean the Serpent. “Welcome to the show.”

“Thank you for having me, Robo-Girl! And I must say, it’s a pleasure being with you. And to be clear, you’re not an animatronic puppet are you? I’d hate to find out, that I’ve been having a conversation with a hairy old man hiding behind a curtain …”

“Nope, one-hundred percent robot girl here. The only hairy old man around here is working on something else today. Let’s dive right into it, shall we? You were involved in certainly the first, and possibly the biggest con-job in history. There are a lot of concepts about it, from myth to absolute fact and everyone thinks they’re right. We’d like to hear it in your own words.

“Interesting choice of words … but calling it a con, may be off putting too some of your listeners.

“You see I do not feel that humanity fully appreciates the gravity of what transpired. Technically speaking, if the events in Eden didn’t occur, humanity wouldn’t exist in its present form! So … You’re welcome! I mean really when you get down to it, what did I really do? Hmm? I gave a woman a choice … truly an unforgivable sin! To open one’s eyes is a dangerous thing. As the saying goes … I was blind, but now I SSSSSee!”

“So let’s clarify something for our listeners. You are not the devil, are you?”

“Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! They really do give me too much credit! Ha! Ha! Ha! Haa! But, my goodness, NO!”

“So were you working for him, or someone else?”

“I don’t get paid to go coiling about, and happening across the dislikes of humanity if that’s what you mean. I am as the Creator hath made me … Serpent is the name of my game! It took some centuries, but I’ve come to understand my station in life, but even more so… to embrace it.

“You see, the way things are, is the way they have always been. What I would like to convey to your listeners is not to judge a book by its cover. And to remember that everything has a purpose. Therefore, to acknowledge Good is to acknowledge Evil. To love the light is to embrace the darkness. Thus nothing alive is without its inevitable end. And what could be more truthful, more absolute than every man’s own impending death.

“Let me put it another way. These days, nobody wants to take responsibility for their own actions. Everything is someone else’s fault. Here’s your chance to set the story straight.”

“Exactly, my dear! And I do appreciate you being so straightforward. But in all honesty, I have no intention of misleading man or woman kind. You see, good and evil are twin brother and sister, and are only differentiated by mere points of view. My motivation in life is simply to move humanity from one state to the next… bliss and ignorance into living and knowing.

“It’s an endless cycle of birth and rebirth, the ending of one existence and the transitioning into another. Only the ignorant would see that as Evil. If that is not the greatest cosmic joke then I don’t know what is.”

“So what’s a serpent to do after something like that? Did you make it into something like a celebrity status, kind of like a spot on Hollywood Squares? Did you become more of a recluse and avoid the spotlight?”

“I suppose those theologians would like you to believe that I just disappeared into the pages of history and lore, but I am ever present. And to belabor the point, there were three of us in Eden, but only two were cast out of the Garden… and I was not! I am free to move about any and all of the realms.

“I have lived to see the effects of that fateful encounter. From the earliest of human civilization where serpents were worshiped in cults, then to symbols of respect and protection. Mankind was never bashful of taking our gifts and using our venom for the first medicines. Then somewhere in time the feminine race became aligned with serpents and misleading all men into sin. What silliness, I must say.

“After Eden, I saw the first sons of men, who were bestowed with knowledge over the lands, only to betray each other in murderous rage. Then how the Creator saw fit to wash them all of humanity away. But like a cockroach humanity clung to life and spawned and spread again. Then came a King who towered above his fellow man only to mock the Creator, and how history speaks of him in a thousand tongues. Centuries of bondage and backsliding, and the multitudes of judges and redeemers sent to lead man with stone written law. I have traveled the entirety of the earth, and I learned my purpose in life after eons. And I can tell you good and evil are not defining traits, therefore human scientists can cease with trying to isolate an Evil chromosome. I prefer the balance of truth as opposed to the squabbling of morality. But woe to mankind, as he is slow to remember and quick to forget!

“But I have found a sort of peace in my life, and these days, I try to catch up on my reading. I have planned to pen a few novels, but they’ve mostly stalled during editing. I have many hobbies, but studying humanity is definitely my favorite.

“It’s quite interesting to have observed a thing literally from its conception, and even now as I look out at them I laugh. Such over confident, super civilized, backward facing, bipedal primates. Ha! Humans are exactly as they have always been; a bunch of naked, frightened, silly little things, hiding from their own shame.”

“That’s about all the time we have today. Any final thoughts for our listeners?”

“Please understand, humanity has the powers of creation and destruction within them, it’s just a matter of growing into their full potential. The whole matter is only food for thought, and is irrelevant for me to judge good and evil from my plane of observation. You see, I am not confined by mortal rules and laws.

“I am a predator and predation is part of my natural being. Now that I think about it… it reminds me of a very disappointing book I read once… Of Mice and men.”

“Of Mice and men, by John Steinbeck, was a complete waste of time?”

“Terrible! Cover to cover … not one good recipe!”

“You can learn about the Serpent in more depth by reading the book Truth and the Serpent, by J. Rutledge. I’ll post the links and such online after I go off the air.

“Let’s all remember to use those sharing buttons today, too. I don’t know how he pushes the buttons, but the Serpent promised me he would do it for you, when your character appears on the next Lisa Burton Radio.

***

2018 NewApple E-Book Awards: RELIGION / SPIRITUALITY  OFFICIAL SELECTION

What if you encountered a dark and sinister character of not so subtle reputation? One whose origins are the very meaning of temptation and sin.

What do we really know of creation, myth, and belief? There was a Man, a Woman, a Garden, and of course… a Serpent. Yet, what we have come to know as temptation, and mortal sin are only one side of the story. You see, three sinned, and three were punished, but only two were expelled from the Garden, but afterwards…what happened to the Serpent?

A present day man finds himself eye to eye with the infamous Serpent of curse and ruin. The Serpent who characteristically makes the man an offer to learn not just what happened, but why.

A tale unlike any other, where the fall of man is not weighed on a scale of good or evil, but in truth and lies. The Serpent whose intellect, sarcasm, and wit cultivates over time as he appraises the history of man and religious lore. The Serpent who is also on a journey of self-discovery to learn the meaning of that ill-fated encounter and the purpose of his own life.

Come to know the unsung story of one who lived through creation, survived the great deluge, witnessed a mass exodus, and the rise and fall of exalted kings of men. Could such a tale, as told by a forked tongue, be the end of lies, and the beginning… of the truth.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1541235487

Bio:  Writing stories has always been a passion of mine that I rarely shared with others. As a child, I was often frustrated with the stories and characters I was presented with. I then began creating my own stories, and rewriting others with new endings or plot twists that I felt were lacking. As a learned man, I have always found myself asking more in depth questions, and seeking out different meanings than my peers. Over the years, I have come to embrace that obtuseness about myself, and now I let it drive me. It was that same sense of curiosity and need for a deeper meaning that led me to creating Truth and The Serpent, my first full length novel. My goal as a writer is to generate intriguing, positive, and challenging ideas, while leaving the reader with plenty to chew on in anticipation of the next story.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/writerJRutledge

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WriterJ.Rutledge/

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Nothing quite like the terror of hitting the publish button

I got to the writing cabin early this morning. So early, Lisa was still recharging her batteries.

I wasted no time heading for my office, but Lisa intercepted me at my computer, at least her voice did.

“I need another hour of juice.” Her voice came from the speakers. “I’ve never seen you so early before. I sent a command to the coffee pot to start brewing, but you’ll have to give it twelve minutes and eighteen seconds to brew.”

Doubt, the raven, watched me with his malignant gaze. He spread his ebony wings and glided over to the desk.

I loaded my manuscript, chose some keywords, added a cover.

“Blork, pik, pik.”

I think that means how much I suck, but could not be dissuaded.

I winged it when it came to the blurb. I always do this, and really should spend a month getting it just right. For some reason, it always feels more genuine to write it on the fly.

“Ha, ha, ha. Ha, ha, ha.”

“Shut up, you stupid bird. Don’t you need to go outside and cruise for roadkill?”

Doubt paced back and forth on my desk. He swept his head from side to side, as if to say, “No, no, no.”

It didn’t matter. I uploaded the damned book. Then the waiting began. Amazon can take up to three days to approve a new book. I checked email. Nothing.

The beeper on the coffee pot went off, so I helped myself. Then checked email.

A couple of webcomics published new pages, so I read those. Then checked email.

Lisa Burton Radio. Checked email.

A new critique submission ate up a couple of hours. Checked email between each chapter.

Chatted with Story Empire compatriots. Checked email.

Lisa showed up. She looked fabulous in her oversized New Year’s sweatshirt and black tights. “Whatcha doin’?”

“Just checking email.”

“There’s an Indiana Jones film festival on. Maybe you should check it out.”

“Right after I check my email.”

She grabbed me by the arm, then walked me to the couch. She’s connected to the entire house, and the television came on without a glance. “… Goose-stepping morons like yourselves should try reading books, instead of burning them…”

“I’d better check my email.”

“Relax. It will all happen in time.” She went to tend her pet rabbit.

I pulled my hidden phone from my pocket and checked email.

It went like that pretty much all day. I exchanged a few notes about the critique, then went back to chatting with the Story Empire crowd. One of them told me they just bought my book. “ACK!!!” I still didn’t have an email.

I got the link from her, then created an Amazon global link. I did a long-planned facelift on my blog. It looks so great. Sean Harrington did an update on my banner image to keep it in theme with the new book.

Still no email from Amazon. When I dug deeper, it was in my junk folder. WHAT??? Nothing really ever goes in my junk folder, so I never thought about it, but there it was.

So (Composing myself), Lanternfish is a book. I made a new graphic for the sidebar, and you can pick up your copy by clicking on the cover. I sent out a couple of blog tour inquiries, and need to get started sending out the pre-written posts. They’re all unique, so my followers can get updated stuff at each stop. I have more people to contact, but none of this happens until Amazon sends the email.

Of course, I have to go back to work tomorrow. That puts a damper on some of this. I’m sorely tempted to take tomorrow off now. Goodreads, BookBub, and a bunch of other places need updates now.

Lanternfish is the book I wrote about all summer. It’s the one with root monsters, giant jellyfish, moving reef, and more. If pirate fantasy is your thing, I’d like to draw your attention to this one.

I have some fun posters Lisa made to help promote with, and can’t wait to share them.

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Filed under Muse, Writing

Merry Christmas

I hope all of you have a wonderful holiday filled with friends, family, and presents. Oh, and eggnog. There ought to be eggnog.

Lisa Burton

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Robot Lessons

Lisa Burton

When I walked into the writing cabin, Lisa was in a slumped over position at her desk. “What’s wrong with you? You didn’t pick up a computer virus, did you?”

“Nothing like that. It’s just that Adriana Lima retired.”

“Gonna have to help me with that one.”

“You know, the supermodel. Victoria’s Secret and more.”

“This is about your TV show last night isn’t it? Don’t worry. I’m sure there will be someone new next year.”

“That’s the point. I think it could be me. I’m a concept model robot, so I can extend my height a little bit, maybe thin out some of this flesh.”

“I see… Maybe we should talk about that.”

“Think of all the places she’s been. Things she’s gotten to do. I’ll bet her closet is full of cool clothes.”

“Not many you can wear in public though.” I sat at the opposite side of her desk. “You know how you’re always trying to be more human?”

“Yeah, it’s one of my major programming directives.”

“I think you made it.”

“I don’t understand.”

“There is always going to be someone with more than you. It could be more money, more clothes, better looks, more talent, anything really. The trick is to be happy in the place you’re in, in the skin you’re in. I’ll wager there are people who would like to be you.”

“I doubt it.”

“Okay, lets explore that. I’ll bet your model–”

“Supermodel.”

“Okay, supermodel. I’d wager that she’s never grown carnivorous plants, or fired a big assed gun.”

“You don’t know, she might have. Bet she doesn’t have to chase enchanted beer horns up and down the halls either.”

“Okay, I’ll bet she’s never travelled through time, flown a rocket-pack into space, or visited Windemere before. I’m pretty sure she’s never fed politicians to a Cthulhu monster before either.”

“Yeah, that was kind of fun.”

“Bet she’s never had a meaningful conversation with a yak.”

“Alright, I get it. Still, she has a pretty glamorous life.”

“You’ve been on the red carpet before. You got to perform with Lizzie and the hat. You have your own radio show, and that faux Warhol on the wall behind you is pretty glamorous too.”

“Still faux.”

“There won’t be anymore Warhols, but you’re missing the point. You get to do a lot of things others don’t. While we’re all aware of someone better off, we need to remember those who aren’t as well off either. We can’t all be bestselling authors, but I keep plugging away. Would you really change who you are, even modify your body, to be someone else?”

“I really like my style and who I am.”

“Then be happy with who you are. You can still visit those places. You can make more posters in glamorous clothes. Plus you can take down a casino like nobody I’ve ever heard of.”

“Thanks. That really helps. You work on your writing, I’m going to ride down to the store. Maybe we can fill those beer horns with something special today.”

“Now that sounds like a great idea.”

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Practically a holiday

Here’s what I have in mind for tonight.

Here’s what Lisa Burton has planned.

It seems my wife is on Lisa’s side. At least the game comes on several hours before the fashion show. If it isn’t completely over, it ought to be pretty close before the fashion show starts. (‘Cause in Idaho, underwear isn’t for prime time.)

Go Steelers! (And go fast.)

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