Tag Archives: Lisa Burton

Tuning up a manuscript

I woke up at 6:30 today. Hey, my wife had to work, and I'm on vacation. If the puppies let me sleep that long, I'm taking advantage of it.

I made it out to the writing cabin about 7:30. I had three dogs to feed, and forced Otto into a short, slow walk around the park next door. He's been pretty sedentary, and I wanted him to move around a little bit.

Lisa is still gone, having scheduled her own vacation right after she finished up posing for Sean Harrington. Right now, it's just me and Doubt the raven. A little bit of that New Orleans chicory coffee and I went to work.

I opened up The Enhanced League and started into my reading. My beta readers all pointed out things I used, and I wanted a final reading to make sure everything still flowed. They all had some ideas I didn't use too, but that's kind of how beta reading works. These wonderful people helped me make the book so much better.

Doubt spotted a spelling error and a formatting issue too. For these short stories, I usually start off with a date followed by a colon. Some of them had a location immediately after that, and some didn't. I revamped everything, replacing the colons with periods, and made sure they all had a location. This involved my fictional broadcast team being in some places where the location isn't relevant to the story, but that's how I did it. If nothing else, it helps define how big the league is.

I sent off an email to my formatter. I last contacted her in late April, and feel bad for taking so long. Life has a way of interrupting my writing career, and that isn't all bad either.

I decided to break up the work by assembling and scheduling a guest post for tomorrow. This is pretty simple to do, but it takes some time. I emailed the advance link back to the guest, and checked that off my task list.

Then I decided to start writing blog tour posts of my own. I only managed one, about something new in this book that I call anthems. I wrote about my inspiration to create them, and how I used them in the book. I still have more posts to write, but it feels good to get started.

That's when the phone rang. “Hello.”

“Hi, this is Lisa. Just wanted to see how you're getting along.”

“Oh, fine. It's the first day of my vacation. How's your vacation?”

“It's good, I finished up with Sean yesterday and grabbed a bus out of town.”

“A bus?”

“You know robot girls can't pass through TSA machines. It's a bus or come home to get the rocket-pack.”

“Oh yeah, from the second Notebook. Where did you decide to go?”

“I'm in sunny Southern California right now. There are cruise ships operating out of San Diego, and I may decide to play a little blackjack.”

“Hardly fair with your card counting skills.”

“It isn't illegal to be smarter than they are. Besides, it's my main source of spending money.”

“What about your paycheck?”

“That's cute, but it doesn't provide the kind of wardrobe I'm used to.”

“Well, try to have a good time. Then I need you to help me with a time travel story. Right after that I need to polish up The Yak Guy Project. Before you know it, we'll be starting on The Hat, and Estivation. We need some Macabre Macaroni stories too.”

“It all sounds like fun. The posters are going to be awesome.”

“With you and Sean, I never have any doubts. Can't wait to see them. Do you think I need to find a bus depot and pick you up eventually?”

“Um, I'll keep you posted on that. Bye.”

Research Note: The Henderson Motorcycle Company was an American company. If it were still around, it would be revered right alongside Harley Davidson. They were part of the Schwinn Bicycle company. The Henderson Streamliner is an Art Deco masterpiece.

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Filed under Muse, Writing

Working on my edits

I took a more leisurely approach getting to the writing cabin today. Puppies decided to wake up at 4:00 am, and they were hungry. After feeding and walking them, I went back to bed and all of them crawled in with me.

Bulldogs apparently don't have any concept of personal space. Otto was the best of the three, because he was happy to conk back out. After repeated attempts to keep tongues out of my nostrils, and noses out of my armpit, the puppies went back to sleep.

The writing cabin was a cold quiet place this morning. Lisa* is absent for a few weeks. She is hanging out with Sean Harrington and working on promotional posters for The Enhanced League, and The Yak Guy Project. I found detailed instructions for everything from making coffee to feeding her pet rabbit, Bunny.

I dragged my feet taking care of everything. Editing of any kind is not my favorite thing, and I knew what waited for me in my office.

He glared at me with inky black eyes. It was a look you might see at the end of your life, like when a great white shark bears down upon you. His black beak aimed my direction and followed me to my desk. I took a seat and opened the files I would need.

Doubt, the raven, hopped off his perch and glided to my desk. I paused, then opened the window in hopes he would leave for the day. He looked at me like he was disappointed at my childish antics.

I don't speak raven, but they make the damndest collection of noises. They aren't crows, and this one is from Mt. Olympus. He's more than an ordinary raven. He paced across the desk while waving his head from side to side in disapproval. “Jugaluggg, blork. Jugaluggg, blork.”

I knew what he meant. He thinks it's all crap. I massaged and tweaked my manuscript while he voiced his disapproval.

Enhanced League got a lot of volunteers for beta reading. I hoped for four, and got seven. I only hope Yak Guy will get half that many when the time comes. Everyone had something wonderful to offer. Commas were deleted, then added back, before being deleted once more.

My UK readers had a tough time with this one, and I expected that. Baseball is popular in North and South America, and in major parts of Asia. Not so much in the UK. I struggled with how to make it accessible to everyone, but had to make an executive decision. Professional ball players would not realistically discuss the basics of the game. They are veterans of the sport, and some things are understood so well they would never come up. This means, I've limited my audience for this book. It makes Doubt happy. He feeds off my worries and concerns.

One of them suggested that some baseball cards might help keep track of everything. It's an outstanding and creative idea. I just don't think I can commission the artwork to support a .99¢ book.

I managed to get through four of the reports before the real world called me back. I'll need another day to get through the rest, but that won't be the end. I will have to re-read it one more time before I can send it to the formatter.

All in all, I feel pretty good about it.

* Lisa Burton is my robotic personal assistant, and the spokesmodel for my writing career.

***

In reality, it looked a lot like this. IPad Pro with its split screen; one side for Enhanced League, the other side for email. This is because some readers sent notes in an email along with the attachment. My old iPad has all the beta read documents on it. I do it this way, because the pro won't allow me to use the split screen on the same program. I can't open my word processor twice. Truth be told, I really like this setup, and I'm glad I kept my old iPad for this reason.

I had my phone there too, but used it to snap this picture, so you can't see it. The other important device is a cup of chicory in a weak attempt to hang on to my vacation.

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It’s a party, yo! #RRBC style

Welcome to my stop along the Springtime Book & Block Party route. Let’s get the preliminary stuff out of the way first. I’m giving two prizes away, and you don’t have to be a member to win. All you have to do is leave a comment, and a random draw will decide the winners. Contestants are only eligible from North America, due to the restrictive cost of shipping.

So what could you win? How about one of these awesome coffee mugs, featuring my personal assistant, and the spokesmodel for my writing career, Lisa Burton the robot girl.

Look how beautiful that marble bust looks, oh and Lisa looks nice too. These things are huge, and you’re going to want one.

This time the party took me by surprise. Last time we did one of these, I timed a book release around it, and that worked out extremely well. I don’t have a book release today, but I can still give you the tour.

At the top of my blog there are a couple of pages that might interest you. There is the standard “about me” page, but there is also a free selection of Lisa Burton paper dolls if you’d like them. I wanted to come up with some swag for an author who only has ebooks available. Make sure you print the pdf files and not the images shown.

The fun one is called Lisa Burton Radio, I’ll let her tell you about it.

“Hi everyone, welcome to the new visitors, and I see some familiar faces here too. The show is really fun, and I interview the characters from your books. At the end I include covers, bios, purchase links, whatever you want, really.

“When the post goes live, I share it to Flipboard, Stumbleupon, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and two Facebook sites. I try to help as much as I can. I’m always looking for guests, so drop me an email. If you want to check out past interviews there is a link in Craig’s sidebar. I’ll let him tell you about the sidebar, he loves his sidebar.

Thanks, Lisa. I also tweet out the five most recent interviews every week after Lisa finishes with them. My sidebar starts out with a link to obtain a free reading app. As an ebook guy, I don’t want to make it difficult for anyone to read my stories. Then I post the two most recent publications with direct links to those books. I have all the covers in a slideshow, because it doesn’t feel right to have them all on there. Lisa mentioned the blog categories, and this is where you can always find her interviews. Those of you who write speculative fiction might find some inspiration in the Idea Mill posts too. Oh, and before I forget, there is an Entertaining Stories Facebook page too, if any of you are so inclined. It’s the only place you can see videos of my dog, Otto. (Don’t laugh, I know some of you are into this stuff.)

That’s the grand tour. Hope everyone is enjoying the party, it’s one of my favorite events. I hope to have two new books coming out soon, but I got caught without them ready yet. One is a collection of short stories called The Enhanced League, about a futuristic baseball league. The other is kind of an alternate world fantasy novel called The Yak Guy Project. Coming soon, I promise.

I guess if I’m going to promote something, The Playground could use a bit of review love. I know some of you are holding shiny new Amazon gift cards at this point in the tour. The club even has a list of who you are. Mwa ha ha…

For those of you who aren’t RRBC members, this is an awesome club. We thrive on mutual support, and it’s kind of a pay it forward system. We’re growing by leaps and bounds, and we’d love to count you among our members. There are too many benefits to mention here, but things like this blog party are happening all the time. Why don’t you check it out at this link.

Party on! Sign up for your own character interview. Leave me a comment. I love interacting with everyone, and you could win a prize.

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Hello, Writing Cabin

I tromped into the writing cabin and caught Lisa unprepared.

“I thought you were reading and stuff. Let me just tidy up real fast.”

The office looked emaculate and I told her so. “What kind of mess can one robot girl make while I'm out? You don't even have to cook.”

“Dust, there's still dust even if I'm completely gone.”

“Suit yourself. I finished my backlog of projects, and decided to try a bit of writing today. You know, just to see if I remember how.”

Lisa broke into action, making coffee with one hand while she took out the Swiffer and went over the floor with the other one. She took a dust cloth and ran ahead of me to my writing desk.

The raven of Doubt glared at me from his perch. He bobbed up and down a few times in excitement.

“Not yet, dude. I'm not doing any editing today. It's time to move the Yak Guy ahead.” He knows The Enhanced League is ready to start editing, but I don't feel rushed to dive in yet.

I started by rereading my last few chapters. I made a small correction or two, and Doubt gave me the stink eye. Lisa showed up with coffee about the time I started writing.

I wrote one short chapter and it was kind of draining. It came in slightly over 3000 words. I don't know if it's because I hadn't written in a while, or because of the content. This chapter involved the end of the yak. He's been such a central character to the story it was hard to see him go.

“I'm really going to miss him,” Lisa said. “He's been at the cabin for a long time.”

“He has, and the next go round maybe we'll see the end of yak guy, Ted.”

“Then what?”

“Then, you probably have to pose for more posters and plan for a worldwide blog tour – or two.”

“That's always fun, then I'm going to use some vacation time.” She opened the window and let in some fresh air. Doubt took the opportunity to stretch his wings at the same time. She sighed as the yak crossed the meadow and headed for the snowy peaks. “He played a mean game of chess, you know.”

“Really, how did he move the pieces?”

“He told me the moves, and I moved them for him.”

“Kind of like he was playing against the computer then?”

“Not kind of, he was playing against me, my processors, and memory. He won more than a few too.”

“Maybe you can get him to come back for your radio show someday. Did you put his data in your Rolodex?”

Please, I'm completely electronic, you should know that by now, and yeah, I have his contact data.”

I checked email, and answered blog comments while she stared out the window.

“So what happens next?”

“Yak guy has to finish his journey. After that, I have a couple of novellas I want to try. That's how it will work out in a perfect world. They could be long short stories or short novels depending on the experiment.”

“What are we talking here? I might need to buy some new outfits for these stories.”

“One is a kind of paranormal superhero origin story.”

“Is that the one with all the hats?”

“Yes, ma'am.”

“So you'll want the paranormal office then.”

“Absolutely. The other one is a spin on the lifeboat story. It has a science fiction background, but they're stuck in an underground bunker for a specific amount of time. The problem is they can't leave, and the antagonist is in there with them.”

“Got it, I already earmarked a bunch of hats and can get them ordered. I wonder what scream queens are wearing this season?”

“I'm sure you'll figure it out before we start. We have to give yak guy some closure first.”

The enchanted beer horns sounded off and came running. They curled around my ankles like a pair of cats.

“Hi guys, I missed you too.”

Lisa said, “I got a nice doppelbock from McCall Brewing for you to try. It's called Dunce Cap.”

“Huh! Did you pick that specifically for me?”

“Of course, I know doppelbock is your favorite.”

Woosh!”

“Don't woosh me, I know what you meant. Do you want the beer or not?”

“Of course, besides, these guys won't stop honking unless we fill them up.”

***

For those of you so inclined, I opened a Pinterest account earlier this year. I started a couple of boards called The Hat and Estivation that relate to my upcoming projects. You can check them out here.

 

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Squeezing a post in

It's Sunday, it started like every Sunday, with a call to my parents. We talked about family triumphs and struggles, the opening day of Major League Baseball, and other things.

My son and I went to see Ghost in the Shell today. Everyone seemed to be wondering what I thought, because the reviews weren't that good. I thought it was awesome to be honest. One of the things I wanted from it was visuals of the futuristic environment.

My next novel (possibly 2018) is going to be called Grinders. It's about bio-hackers, and I want to use setting similar to what I saw in the film previews. (Okay, I'm old enough that I was thinking Blade Runner, but you get the gist.) Ghost in the Shell delivered big time, in fact, I may have to step up my setting beyond the ideas I already have.

I thought the story was good too. It wasn't overly complicated, and it suited the genre well. I would have liked to see more familiar faces, but it could be that I wasn't looking at the faces. Scarlet Johansen tends to make me look many places at once.

Tomorrow kicks off the Story Empire Blog tour I already shared with you. This is going to keep me busy. I will have a guest here tomorrow, and at the same time, I will be a guest somewhere else. Never one to slack-off, I also have the regular post in the rotation at Story Empire. This means I have some serious comments to follow across the internet.

I will not be reblogging my own tour posts, because I won't step on my guest's toes during this event. If you want to win one of my prizes, you'll have to visit my host's sites. This is the tour schedule, and there are some fun prizes up for grabs, and some great deals on good books.

Then there is the social media support to go along with it all. There are occasionally comments there that I need to respond to, on top of the WordPress comments.

During all that, I want to move ahead with my reading responsibilities. I may try reading a few chapters, surfing all the sites and media, then reading a few more chapters.

Lisa Burton, my personal assistant thinks she can explain it better than I can.

Wish me luck. Have you seen Ghost in the Shell? What did you think? Do you have any tips for keeping up with all of my blogging responsibilities?

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Dear Lisa Vol. 2, on #LisaBurtonRadio

Lisa Burton

Hey, hipsters, Lisa Burton the robot girl here, and today we’re doing something fun. I don’t have a guest to interview, so we’re holding another episode of Dear Lisa. This is where I flip through some of the fan mail, and answer it on the air. Stick with me, it’ll be fun.

Our first letter comes from Long Island and wants to know what my first job was.

I try really hard to be just as human as everyone else, but admit that I’m a little different. I was created in a concept lab as both a promotional tool, and to demonstrate what the future of robotics could hold. Part of the bargain was to plant me into society and see how I adapt as a human. Some people are nervous nellies, and were terrified that I’d go all Skynet on them. That meant the police department was the only place they’d let me work. They were better equipped to watch over me, so to speak.

At the Hudson Police Department, I was assigned to the homicide squad. My absolute very first job was to make a Vice sweep. It’s kind of a hazing slash welcome to the department kind of thing. I caught some perps too. The night ended early when we got a call about a body someone found.

This next one is kind of sad, and I’m going to read it so you get the gist of it.

Dear Lisa,

Lately my boyfriend is always showing up late. He tells me football practice ran late, but I’ve got my doubts. I’ve also noticed him checking out my fellow cheerleaders when he comes to pick me up. I’m afraid if I confront him, he’ll leave me. He’s the most popular boy in school. I can’t lose him. What should I do?

Signed,

Heartbroken in High School

This is something I can really sink my teeth into, and there are a couple of ways to answer you. Since it’s my show, I’m going to do both. You can’t hack into his phone and computer, like I can. You can try taking a look at his phone when he’s at practice. You might find all kinds of evidence on social media, text messages, those kind of places. There are any number of small drones you can use to see what he’s up to when you’re out of sight too. That seems simple enough, but may not be the best option.

The second part of this answer is that you seem to need him to establish your own value. The only way you described him is how popular he is. You didn’t tell me anything about him except that he plays football and is popular. No mention of his cute smile, or how he makes you feel. You need to find a way to feel valuable without him. When you’ve done that, he might be an asset. Without your own feeling of self worth, you’ll never be stable in the relationship.

The last one for today is from Yukon, Canada. This person wants to know why Bunny is so important to me.

For new people, Bunny is my pet rabbit. He and I have a lot of similarities. He is a genetically modified organism, I have GMO human skin covering my chassis. My original experiment involved me being broken down into my component parts at the end to study for wear and tear. Bunny is a Kansas City Broiler, and he was going to be broken down into his component parts too.

I rescued Bunny and saved him from the butcher shop, and in doing so he inspired me to save myself. I found my own self worth, and decided not to be broken down at the end of my experiment. It was a struggle, and I suffered some real loss. Bunny and I got through it together, and we stay together through thick and thin.

That was fun, and we should do it again some time. In order to do it, I need your fan mail. You can drop me a comment here on the blog, Facebook me, or send me an email. I’ll hang onto the the questions for a future edition of Dear Lisa.

This broadcast is primarily for me to interview characters from the books you love to read. I’m in need of characters again too. I have a few questionnaires out in cyberspace somewhere, but nothing broadcast ready right now. Authors, send me your protagonists, your colorful supporting characters, even your antagonists. I’d love to help promote their books. Return visits aren’t just allowed, they’re encouraged.

If you aren’t an author, you can still send a question for me to answer. You can also tell someone about Lisa Burton Radio by using the sharing buttons below. For Lisa Burton Radio, I’m Lisa Burton. Have a great day.

***

Lisa can be reached at coldhand (dot) boyack (at) gmail (dot) com, on Facebook, or in the comments.

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A Castaway Style Interview

It's an interesting exercise to choose items for a castaway island. It winds up being a pretty good look into your preferences and makeup. Today it's my turn, and I invite you all to check it out. Thanks to Sian Glirdan (Jan Hawk) for including me.

A Green Room welcome to ~ C.S. Boyack

Siân: Today I’ve set up a challenging environment for the fantastical C.S. Boyack, aka Craig, author of the hoopiest, twistiest speculative micro and macro-fiction on the planet, in a far-flung orbit of creativity! You saw what I did there, huh?
Craig’s a pioneering type and waxed long and eccentric when I asked about his preferred, year-long, castaway requirements. So, as I’m currently working on something in the furthest flung of galaxies, I’ve cherry-picked a rather spiffy desert planetoid that isn’t infested with giant semi-sentient worms, for him to go play in the biiiig sandpit…

Read on here I'll check over there for comments throughout the day.

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