Tag Archives: Movies

Personal hygiene over word count

It was one of those days. My daughter entered cosmetology school years ago, and since that time, I’ve paid her to cut my hair. I was her first, and last, supporter in this endeavor.

She never did take out her license, and her interests changed. She’s been working at airports since school, and recently moved back to Sun Valley. This is a good move for her, and came with a considerable raise.

I haven’t gotten my hair cut for about two months. It was looking pretty awful, and my hair grows pretty fast. She made arrangements to pick up some of her stuff this weekend, so we figured to do a haircut then.

Once again, this didn’t work out, and we had a little chat. Her life has changed, but I still need to take care of myself at some point too. I don’t mind waiting a week, but can’t hold out any longer. With her living in Sun Valley, this is the end of an era.

One of her instructors is now cutting hair, and the lady is really good. I went there today.

This cut into my writing time, and my word count was limited. It’s somewhere in the neighborhood of 500 words today.

My pirates gathered news of the war, made an alliance, and set sail for an uncharted island. Not much, but what do you expect for 500 words?

I spent the afternoon watching television. I know this is a terrible waste of time, but there you have it. I started with Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, followed that up with Dante’s Peak, and am now watching Young Frankenstein. Okay, maybe it wasn’t a waste of time.

I’m getting used to my progressive lenses. I hated them yesterday, but we’re starting to get along better. My big issue is the narrow field of clear vision. I love the idea of being able to raise or lower my head to get perfect vision. I don’t like having to move my head from side to side to read a simple blog post. Like I said, it’s getting more familiar.

Tomorrow is the day I call my parents, so writing time might be limited again. You never know, sometimes it works well. There is a lot that has to happen on this island, including another monster encounter. There are actually two, but only one will be an encounter.

My flex day is Monday, but my wife is off too. It’s up in the air, but we may bag everything and try to get a mid-day date night out of the deal. That has some value beyond simple word count too.

28 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Do I need a plan?

I have three days off, and two of those will let me get some things done. I intended to monkey with some micro-fiction tonight, but didn't get that far.

The best I could manage was to change my wallpaper again. I like the speed racers, but the white Bonneville Salt Flat, mixed with the white page of my blog was too much for me. I cropped some of the sky out, and used a picture of the Sawtooth Mountains. This one may not be perfect, but I'm content with it.

My wife and I watched The Passengers on television tonight. I thought it was a wonderful movie. A little romance, a little science fiction, a bit of Titanic disaster. Good film.

I have a critique I need to work through, and that will take about fifteen minutes. I need to work up a couple more shticks for Lisa Burton Radio and send them out. Then I have a backlog of interview requests, but I have to keep the line moving too.

Beyond that, I want to write three micro-fiction pieces for October.

My main distraction is wanting to start one of my novellas. A blogger/author friend told me she wrangled 5000 words today. That's a tremendous day, and it calls to me to get started. I need to resist the call.

I committed to two October promotions this week. I haven't gotten any additional instructions, but will need to write something for those eventually.

Besides, I'm behind on my reading. I have at least three, possibly four books I need to read. If I resist the writing call for a couple of weeks, I may get a couple of those checked off.

It's a tough call to resist.

42 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

This is your brain on memes

I am an internet citizen. Memes are out there. I see them and chuckle along with everyone else. The funny thing is that everything has become fodder for my mind these days. Why should memes be any different.

There has been one floating around for a while now and it stuck with me for a long time, because it relates to writing rules. It also relates to different ways of doing the same thing. If you're one of my regulars, you know I've been at this point before. I'm on the verge of an epiphany, but I haven't quite nailed it down. Sometimes I get clarity by writing about it.

If you stuck with me this long, I'll just jump right to it. This is the one that set me off:

I saw this a month or two ago and never gave it much thought. Last night we went to Guardians of the Galaxy II and it came screaming back into my mind. It actually took me a while to find the meme I wanted. Things on the internet don't have much of a shelf life.

Let's get the movie review out of the way, for those who expect such things… Awesome! I loved it, and so did the rest of my family. I'm sure there are hundreds of reviews in blogland, and this isn't the main purpose of my post.

This whole meme is just an extension of the DC vs Marvel thing that's gone on for generations. You know, Ford vs Chevy, Coke vs Pepsi, etc. I want to enjoy the contrast between the DC and Marvel films. The fact is, I enjoy them both. I can't wait to see the Wonder Woman movie.

This is a whole bunch like my reading habits. I bounce around in genres, and I like the tone of the stories to change from book to book. Truth is, I write this way too.

There were some lighthearted moments in Panama. The Playground had some dark moments. Practical Geology, in my last Experimental Notebook, was very dark. My first Notebook had one called The Soup Ladle of Destiny… lighthearted.

The Guardians of the Galaxy are older than the films, but it took the films to bring me to this point. Who the hell writes this stuff??? It's just batshit crazy. It's also brilliant.

Film has tools that an author doesn't have access to. I would love to have my hero walking in slow motion to a dramatic soundtrack. I'd love to use a sight gag, like when Rocket Raccoon was playing with his land mines. (Just see the film already.) As a writer, I have access to a lot of tools too. I'll just have to go about it a different way.

Last night it occurred to me. When I worry about how a story might be received, I might be holding myself back. Our world is so politically correct, so stressed about fitting within an ordained image, that it can influence our fiction.

Then it occurred to me that another internet meme could help me here:

If I put a governor on my words, I could be preventing myself from writing something brilliant. I even had this conversation with a prominent crime author last year. We discussed what a woman can write that a man cannot. I'm not convinced yet, but I'm working on it. Woman writes a grisly rape and murder scene, she's a woman and it's a serious concern. Man writes the same scene and he's a sick pervert.

She says there is no difference. I still worry about it, and I'll probably never get rid of my filter completely, but it's a great goal.

From now on, I think I'm going to daydream at the finished outline phase. I'm going to assess the insanity and darkness meters. What would a twenty percent adjustment do to the story. What if a dark story were twenty percent darker? What if a lighthearted tale were to go into insane territory? I may not write them that way, but by asking the question, I may be leveling up to a degree.

Help me out here. What do you guys think? Honey Badger might be onto something. The blog world has been kind of quiet, let's get some interaction going.

55 Comments

Filed under Writing

A little of this, a little of that.

There has been a different kind of content here on Entertaining Stories lately. It isn't that my well ran dry, it's that I've been getting invites. If someone generously wants to support me, the least I can do is reblog and try to drive them a bit of traffic. Let's face it, many of my followers are authors and they should be saving those sites in a folder somewhere for the times they need a bit of support.

Next week is going to be different around here too. I'm participating in a fun blog tour that I helped to create. I'll be hosting the other Story Empire authors while they host me. You'll have the chance to learn about some awesome new books, with deep discounts or free days, and there will be prizes. I'm pretty excited about the ones I'm giving out, but you'll learn more about them tomorrow. It's going to be a lot of fun, so come along for the ride.

While we're doing this, there will still be original content on Story Empire, and I have the monday post in the rotation. In other words, I've been blogging while hosting friends, and being hosted by other friends, the posts just haven't been revealed yet.

My son and I have tickets to see Ghost in the Shell tomorrow. The advertisements look pretty awesome, and the source material was pretty popular. It sounds like the movie is getting terrible reviews, so I don't know what to expect. At least I get to hang out with my son, so that's kind of cool.

Last May, this little bundle of joy arrived at our house:

Otto was actually born on April First, which is kind of fitting after you get to know him.

He had a big first year. He got to wade in the Pacific Ocean, went on multiple camping trips, and had a long-standing battle with plastic water bottles. I'm writing this post in bursts, because he keeps shoving his ball onto my keyboard.

Today, this is what he looks like:

Not the best picture, but he doesn't stand still very long, and it's the best I could do.

If you look behind him, you'll see his gingerbread man, his big lizard, and his rope toy. Not a latex toy in sight.

We were warned about bulldogs and latex allergies. We bought him a glass food and water dish set on the day he arrived, just for this reason.

His absolute favorite toys are the plastic ones. His chin broke out with nasty pustules, and I took them all away. I still have his ladybug ring, several rubber balls, and the last rubber bone that still squeaks.

Over the course of several days, everything seems to have cleared up for him. I feel bad about it, but I may have to get rid of those toys that have latex.

It's odd that it wasn't a problem for a year, but that is kind of how allergies work. It's all fine until it isn't, then they never go away.

Otto tends to go at everything full speed ahead. He plays hard, then he crashes hard. In the time it took to write this post, we played ball for 45 minutes, and my wife participated too. Then he crashed. I'll sneak up and see if I can actually get one more photo:

Gotcha.

My flex day is Monday next week, and that's perfect. I can monitor comments on the first day of our big tour, along with those at Story Empire, and I may even finish my reading. (The same reading I was supposed to finish before April arrived.)

So happy April Fool's Day, happy birthday to Otto, and I hope all of you have a great weekend.

46 Comments

Filed under Blogging, Uncategorized

Partial project day

Today was dedicated to finishing tasks. Some were started, some weren't, and I didn't get all the way through the list.

I need five posts for a promo I'm going to be doing. I still have two left to write, and those that exist need a little something too. Watch this space, and you may find some great deals on my books in the next couple of weeks. I blog about bulldogs, and movies, writing, and all kinds of things, but occasionally I need to mention that I have books to sell. “Hey, I have books to sell.”

The good news is that I don't return to the paycheck job until Tuesday. I have one more day to work on them.

I intended to do some reading today, but failed completely. We went to one of our favorite places last night, then I stayed up late playing video games with my son. Somehow, I forgot to plug in my iPad. No juice = no reading. I used what little juice remained to pay bills today, so I can scratch that off the list.

I dedicated my analog time to working on a critique. My crit group is on life support after several years. We're down to two members remaining, but we're meeting next week anyway. Part of the discussion will be about how to get new members. I don't know too many writers in the Boise area, but I'd really like to keep this going. I get different values from critique and beta readers. I want both.

While recharging, I found a movie. I said yesterday that Skull Island left me a little flat. Today, on cable, I watched Bridge of Spies, with Tom Hanks. This movie gave me more than I expected, and I would watch it again. I knew the story, but seeing it dramatized was well worth it. Great movie.

Tomorrow, I have to get my truck sniff tested. It's an absurd local regulation, but I have to do it. I may check my meds and try getting them refilled while I'm out. I need to write two more promo posts, and I'm going to read come hell or high water.

Next weekend brings the return of company, so no writing. I'm at a point in Yak Guy where I need to decide how much wandering around in the wilderness is acceptable. Too much will bore readers. I could work this toward the end, but it might wind up being a 70K word novel. In this modern era, maybe that is preferable. It's definitely preferable to boring readers with too much star gazing.

Talk to me here. Did you get a different vibe from Skull Island? Have you seen Bridge of Spies? Do you know any Boise area fiction authors who would like to join a critique group? Are you interested in some great book deals in the first week of April? How do you feel about novels on the short side of word count? How in the heck do you guys find time for your reading?

24 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

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.

14 Comments

Filed under Writing

A day of errands

I got up fairly early today with good intentions of working on my novel. Otto made sure everyone else got up too. Novel writing ended before it began.

This is one of the saving graces of having a short fiction project. It may sound funny, but it doesn't require the same level of concentration. There is no three act structure or large sweeping plot to keep track of. My short fiction has an underlying theme, and it has a timeline to follow, but it's so loose a few distractions don't ruin my ability to forge ahead.

I made a pass through a mostly finished story, repaired a few things and brought it to an ending. Then I wrote the micro-fiction about the fall out. I really like the recurring characters on the news broadcast, and they did a great job on this one.

After that the errands began in earnest. The plan was to get the replacement chair for the one Otto devoured. We'd use my wife's car, because it sleeted all day today. The new chair could stay warm and dry inside her SUV. Then we'd retrieve my truck, wash off the bird assault, and buy a Christmas tree.

The reality was that we got the chair, stopped at Whole Foods for some small items, (and a couple of good beers,) then picked out a tree on the way home. My wife didn't want to tie it to the roof of her car, but she didn't want to make a return trip to town even worse. The boys at the lot did a great job tying it down. My truck still looks like a victim of a certain Hitchcock movie.

So the chair is installed, the tree is here, and we'll assemble it tomorrow. She had to go to a work event tonight, so it's just Otto and me.

I used the opportunity to move ahead on a book I've been reading. I still have a ways to go, but it's been a fun read so far. My eyes are giving out now, and I might turn on the television or some music for the rest of the night.

Hope you all had a great Saturday, or are enjoying your Saturday night. I see a Frank Miller film is on later, and I've never seen this one. I used some of his style when I concocted The Playground. If I watch that, I can count it as research, right?

30 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized, Writing

That was unexpected

Old What's Her Face* decided to go to Nevada this morning. She'll be visiting with her brother, and I'll get some time to do things.

My son is here, and I bought us a couple of DVDs to watch. I bought Captain America Civil War, and Warcraft. I'm off Monday too, so we have time to get to them. I'm almost certain to check into the MLB Championship Series sometime too. (Mostly the National League.)

Then, of course, there is Otto time. He demanded a rousing game of pumpkin ball fetch the minute I got home. It's hard not to comply, he's pretty cute.

Things kind of calmed down a bit on the promotion front. The sale for The Playground ran out. It's still available, but at the regular price now. The Paranormal Bar & Grill blog tour will run all by itself. I'll still check in every day, moreso when my book is in the spotlight, but it won't take much work.

I will set up an Amazon Giveaway for Will O' the Wisp in a couple of days. This means, according to Amazon's rules, I have to buy the five books I want to hand out. It's the only promotional tool I haven't used this month.

I have to work on one of my pages over at Story Empire, but I'm not going to dive right into it tonight. In similar fashion, I have one Lisa Burton Radio to work on but it may not post until December when the book drops. Scheduling the next Macabre Macaroni story won't take any time at all.

There isn't much I can do to promote my Experimental Notebooks. They are permanently priced at 99¢. These books contain quite a bit of Halloween reading. Not every story will qualify, but at 99¢ I don't think you can go wrong.

This is the link to my Amazon Page. It's the only link I have where both Experimental Notebooks are browseable.

So outside of pumpkin ball fetch, setting up the giveaway, and watching some movies – what will I do?

I may find time to visit the writing cabin, but I've sworn off my novel until November. If I manage to write something it will be short fiction. I also have a book to finish reading.

May sound boring to some of you, but it sounds great to me.

* Entertaining Stories, protecting my family's identity since 2013.

42 Comments

Filed under Writing

Caledonia on Lisa Burton Radio

Today, on Lisa Burton Radio, we're in the studio with two very special guests from the series, Caledonia. I'm your host, Lisa the robot girl, and my guests today are Detective Inspector Leah Bishop and Robert Burns, national poet of Scotland and vampire. “Welcome you guys. Thanks for joining me.”

“Thank you for having us.”

“My bio says Robert is actually the Robert Burns, the famous poet. How are you still around? You have to be like 220.83 years old.”

“I’m a vampire. And you know what they say, age just makes a man more experienced.”

“Are you flirting with me?”

“Yes.”

“I’m a robot.”

“Always on the lookout for new experiences.”

“All right, Rabbie, slow it down.”

“So, Robert. You’re immortal. And you still live in Scotland after all those years?”

“Of course. I guard the gate to Faerie. It’s behind a bar in a small pub in the Highlands.”

“That explains Robert, where do you fit in, Leah?”

“I was a folklorist and became a police officer. Caledonia Interpol offered me a job and I took it. I was getting away from a bad past. Then I found out everyone working there aside from me was a monster. My partner, Dorian Grey, is a selkie. We investigate supernatural crime.”

“That's juicy, he was supposed to be a good looking man. Is there anything going on with you guys?”

“Not a chance in hell. Dorian’s taken anyway, but we’re best friends. He’s bisexual, like all selkies; makes their purpose as creatures that comfort people unhappy in love a lot easier.”

“Tell us about what you're working on now, Leah.”

“There’s a serial killer in Glasgow – the first serial killing of faeries the supernatural world has ever seen.”

“Killing fairies is heinous, I hope you catch whoever is doing this. What’s going to happen if you don’t?”

“Usually they call in the human police to investigate crimes like this one. This is the first time it’s been systematically done to the Fae.”

“And, don't forget Leah, with selkies involved, the killer might have just inadvertently doomed the world.”

“So, it’s pretty important then?”

“Yes. We investigate supernatural crime exclusively, and this is one of the first crossovers into the human world or human behavior we’ve ever seen.”

“Sounds like you have your hands full.”

“You don’t know the half of it.”

“So Robert, what drags you into this story?”

“Well…I…”

“He’s in stupid love with a monster called Desdemona.”

“It’s not stupid. How dare –”

“We’re the ones that have to deal with you mooning around like an idiot all the time.”

“Ooh, tell us about Desdemona. That's a pretty name.”

“Well, Lisa, we met during the Fae Wars, when I was still human. Des –”

“She hates being called that.”

“Des is incredible – a baobhan sith vampire and the commander of the Fae army during the opium wars. You’ve never seen anything so beautiful and terrifying all at once.”

“Sorry, Lisa, he’ll go on about this for hours. Desdemona is a vampire, she’s also a bellydancer and owns a club in the Glasgow city centre. This idiot’s been chasing her for centuries.”

“She’s not interested?”

“I’m not sure she even understands love in the traditional human sense. Baobhan sith are not emotional creatures.”

“Now wait a minute. You don’t know that. It could happen.”

“Unlikely.”

“That's so tragic. Pining away for all eternity over someone who isn't interested.”

“There’s always hope.”

“You’ve got it bad.”

“Of course.”

“New topic you guys, I'm excited to tell our listeners about all your success. Many of us main characters would kill for your kind of success. Not only have you enjoyed eight books and counting, but there is also a television series, and a movie. What has it been like to have actors portray you?”

“Well, they’ve had three different women play me. I’m like Doctor Who in that way. Or James Bond.”

“The actor playing me is very handsome. The likeness is uncanny.”

“Yes, I approve of him.”

“You would.”

“Are you calling me a pervert, Robert?”

“I didn’t say that.”

“No, but you thought it.”

“I can neither confirm nor deny.”

“Anyway, all the actors are doing a fantastic job. I’m looking forward to the next installment.”

“Yes, Burns Night. I’d like to see how that turns out.”

“The tragic hero of the story.”

“I’m not tragic!”

“Of course not. I think it’ll be fantastic. The film builds on the previous stories but can also be watched as a stand-alone show.”

“Yeah, and in this one we both work together. Dorian vanishes and Robert gets roped in to helping me find him.”

“I only did it for Des.”

“You always say that. That night was one hell of an adventure.”

“Agreed. The film is worth checking out.”

“That's wonderful you guys. I wish you every success, and I hope you catch that killer. Sadly, we're out of time. Our sponsor today is the Caledonia Series by Amy Hoff. I'll include all the links on the website.”

***

Website: www.caledoniaseries.co.uk

Tumblr: www.caledoniafans.tumblr.com

Twitter: @caledoniaseries

Facebook: www.facebook.com/caledoniaseries

42 Comments

Filed under Lisa Burton Radio

Some days a diamond…

… Some days a rock. I had good intentions for yesterday and today. I got up early and tackled the feedback I received on my short story. This was the one where I dabbled in epistolary style.

The story wasn't quite right, and my volunteers were able to point out some things that really helped. I winced when I wrote it about using italics for the documents. Big chunks of italics are frowned upon, but it is the correct style.

I even have one chunk where there are old letters quoted inside a blog post. The correct style is italics for the blog post, and back to normal for the letters. I hated to do it, because I hoped the section breaks would be enough. They weren't and using the italics was the right thing to do.

There were some clarity issues as well, and I used many of the suggestions people threw at me. It's good now, and maybe some time in the fermenter will let me improve it. Short fiction is a side line, and I have no deadlines for finishing it.

Many thanks to my volunteers, and I'm happy to return the favor if you guys need it.

I'm still ruminating over sections of the Yak Guy Project. I need to touch up some of what I already have, including plants that will payoff later down the trail. I have a study guide on the table beside me and will do some research later today.

I managed to add about 1000 words to an old school science fiction story I've been working on. This is also short fiction, so I'm in no real hurry on it either.

Old What's Her Face said she needed to air me out yesterday, so we did date night early. We went and saw The Hateful Eight. I love Tarantino, but this one was just not that good. He never really has followed the rules, but some good editing could have left a half hour of film on the cutting room floor. I even told my wife that if I introduced an omnipotent narraror 3/4 of the way through a novel, the readers would crucify me. Maybe when I'm Tarantino, I can get away with this kind of thing. (Maybe not) The backstory at the end didn't really work for me either.

We consoled ourselves with pizza and beer at Old Chicago. (Well, I had beer. She doesn't drink.) When we got home, we decided to watch movies on cable.

We watched Pompei, with the actor who may, or may not, be playing John Snow when Game of Thrones returns this spring. It was mediocre, but had some cool special effects. We also watched The Judge with Robert Downey and Robert Duval. For me, it was the best movie of the day.

My takeaway was that I was invested in Downey and Duval, I cared what happened, and it had a wonderful reflection on fathers vs sons. There has to be a lesson there for writers.

Hateful Eight and The Judge both had wonderful actors and good performances. As a writer, I don't have that luxury. They both had great characters; that I can attempt. I love some special effects like in Pompei, and might be able to write some of that too. The place where I can up my game is to try for an emotional tug in the story.

I admit to being a little 'hit and miss' when it comes to the emotional pull. I know what I intend, but does the reader get it at the other end? Yes, some of the time. This is where the Muse could really help me elevate my game.

I didn't post last night, because we were spending time together. This Sunday morning post is intending to make up for that. I have some editing on The Playground in my sights for today. The good news is that tomorrow is a national holiday in the US. Maybe I'll be ready to add some words to The Yak Guy project.

So yesterday was a rock. Maybe tomorrow will be a diamond.

22 Comments

Filed under Writing