Tag Archives: Otto

Chipping Away

Mom and Dad had date night, and we got pumpkin hats.

I chipped away at my task list. I have a couple of Lisa interviews ready to go, but I’m holding off on which one to post. I’m waiting for purchase data for a book. I don’t have to decide until tomorrow, so I’ve gone as far as I can.

I successfully ignored The Hat. Stepping away is always better for the editing process.

All of my critique work is finished. I printed everything today and put them in my truck for our meeting Tuesday. I got down to the last few pieces of paper yesterday, printed the submissions out, and then learned my print heads needed cleaning. I had to throw them away and shop for paper. We swung by Fred Meyer after date night and all is well.

We ran a few errands, and even picked up some dog toys. We’re still picking up things like those undermats that keep the rugs from sliding around. After we finished my son and I logged a few hours of Borderlands. My character got a cool new sniper rifle that lights its victims on fire, and she got a new head too. Seriously, I don’t write this stuff. You get heads and bodies from a vending machine as a kind of upgrade.

In a way, it’s too bad the real world doesn’t work this way. I could insert my credit card and grow a foot taller. Then I wouldn’t be overweight.

When we re-upped with Direct TV, we were given a year of the NFL League Pass for free. We watched the game last week, but this week it’s not on. We probably need to call them, but were denied the ability to watch. My internet indicates the Steelers won, so there’s that. I might get to check out some baseball later today.

I say might, because Old What’s Her Face is binge watching The Outlander. While Outlander is on, I retreated to another room and started reading A Desolate Hour. It seems to take me forever to read a book these days, but I’m committed. Great story so far.

I also wrote a couple of future blog posts. When the Muse visits, it’s best to give in to her. Not kidding here, she gets violent.

I still haven’t gotten back to the edits on Yak Guy. Tomorrow is my best chance, but it’s dependent upon whether my daughter decides to talk my ear off.

So I chipped away at the task list. Some projects are complete, some on hold, and others yet to come. Maybe tomorrow will let me scratch them all off.

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A positive step back

I spent the dark morning hours going through The Hat and tightening things up. This needed to be done, and I feel much better about moving forward now. There were some good suggestions from some of you about my section-break symbols. Jan Hawk encouraged me to try modifying a png file and seeing how it looked. I’m going to post what it looks like now, and hope to get some feedback from you guys.

In this scene, the hat is playing his bass, but Lizzie is providing the hands. It’s more important that she’s learning about the symbiotic nature of their relationship. If I leave the section breaks like this, would any of you find the bass clefs distracting somehow? Do they enhance the story at all?

Right now, I love them, but it could be the simple act of making them successfully and not how they might influence the story.

We finally got the dining room table assembled and but back in place. It looks beautiful on the new rug and the grey floor. We still need to get the rug for the living area, but it’s looking pretty darned good around here.

This afternoon, I assembled this week’s Lisa Burton Radio and sent the authors an advance link. I count that as forward progress too.

In other news, the annual pumpkin beers are starting to show up in force. I love this time of year, and can’t wait for it to officially be Fall. Oh, and the pet stores got a few pumpkin balls in. These are a lower quality than last year, but they said their stock is just starting to come in and there will be more stuff later on.

Otto

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Home again, home again.

Yesterday went well. I had a bunch of intelligent questions and stayed late to make sure everyone got some level of satisfaction. This put me into the house at 9:30 PM.

I have a hard time going to sleep after a long drive, so I stayed up for an hour and dealt with blog comments. My plan was tentative at best to sleep in this morning.

The alarm puppy had the good sense to wait until 5:00 am to wake me up. I let her go potty and tried to go back to sleep. This time of morning meant all the dogs had to crawl in with us. It’s cute, really it is, but Otto weighs 65 pounds. He’s like a big rock when he leans against you and steps on the blanket. I tried to sleep, but by quarter to six, I gave up completely.

I fixed their kibble, and they ate like little horses, then went back to sleep with mom. I monkeyed around with blog comments, RSS feeds, Facebook, and Twitter. After that, I knew I had to work on Lisa Burton Radio posts. I assembled next week’s post, but didn’t do much with the week after. I still need to do that prior to Monday.

I also got some material out for a promo I jumped on for October, and another post for The Storyreading Ape’s site. Then I responded to an inquiry about a pet interview. All I have to do is respond to it as one of my dogs.


I glanced over my shoulder. Huh, wife and dogs are still asleep. Whatever shall I do?

I opened a new document and started writing The Hat, a paranormal superheroish origin story. I like the character intro, and I think readers will have some fealty with her right away. She’s been through a tough stretch. I am doubting myself because it needs a bit of backstory. With a two character, buddy type, story it’s almost necessary. I can introduce Lizzie and get everyone up to speed the right way. When it comes to the hat, yes he is a character, I have to dive into some backstory.  He’s ancient compared to Lizzie and readers need to know some things. I already have some plan to get part now, and another part later. That helps to break it up.

All in all, I’m nearing 2700 words. I didn’t plan this as a writing day, so I’m content. My wife has to work tomorrow and Sunday, so I’ll have much more time to dedicate to this project.

This also poses a mental shift to me. All I want to do now is work on the new story. I have to keep Lisa burton Radio moving ahead, and I have edits back on The Yak Guy Project. I want those edits completed by Mid September. — so it isn’t exactly an emergency.

By the end of the weekend, all I need to do is get another Lisa Burton Radio almost complete. Then I need to respond to the pet interview. After that, I can work on whatever I like, and I kind of choose The Hat.

Just for giggles, someone talked me into starting Pinterest boards for my pending projects. I started one for The Hat if you’d like to check it out.

I got some strange message from Twitter about adding my telephone number to my account. I didn’t want to do this, but they make it nearly impossible not to. The process sends you a call and a text from some cryptic number that has nothing about it that says Twitter. Then they ask if I’d like to receive updates and notifications. Oh sure!!! I’d love to have my phone ringing whenever one of my thousands of followers posts something. Particularly love that shit in the middle of the night. I turned all that off, but they said not to worry, I could always text to turn it back on. All I have to do is text to the cryptic number that has nothing about it that says Twitter.

Personally, I think they just want my number to sell to telemarketers. I’m relatively certain I’m about to start getting texts about fake prizes I’ve won, timeshares I need to visit, and vacations I haven’t really won. They make me choose between accepting this, or quit using Twitter. I’m trying to be an author here, but Twitter has rendered itself almost useless. Most of my activity is to support others there.

The Twitter thing only happened after their last update. Did anyone else get this message too?

I’ve been playing with the actual WordPress app on my last few posts. Blogsy is outdated and they have no plans to update it for future versions of iOS. It’s too bad, because they did WordPress better than they WordPress does. Everything was easy, made sense, and came with options even WordPress didn’t have. I checked, and there aren’t any decent blogging apps left in the App Store. This leaves me with the WordPress App. How does this post look at your end?

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Not bad for a flex day

Like all flex days, this one started off with a task list last night. The day started with my alarm dog at about six o'clock.

Otto and Frankie play together all the time now. A big part of this involves him feeling much better. We took more detailed X-rays about two weeks ago, and had an additional expert look at them. He has several problems, but there was concern about one specific issue. It involves bone tissue that is degenerating and regrowing.

Our vet said the possibilities were bone cancer, and a bone infection. The cancer is almost unheard of with a dog Otto's age, and the infection is also extremely rare. He wanted to try an antibiotic in an abundance of caution, but thinks maybe the X-ray simply showed something that isn't there.

Here's the deal, though. After two days of antibiotic, Otto started feeling better. After a week, I have my boy back. He runs around, plays ball, and is acting like his old self. He still limps on occasion, but two weeks ago he was dragging himself across the floor by his front legs.

How the hell does anything get a bone infection?

They've been absolutely crazy today.

Oh, come on guys, you're making me look bad now. They were playing, I swear.

I wound up doing some maintenance on my part of the Story Empire blog, and finished that. About an hour ago, I found even more to do there, but still consider it a win.

I also explored and joined a new app a friend told me about. Something called Triberr, but don't ask me anything about it just yet.

I finished the edits on a 5500 word short story for an anthology, and delivered the edited version to them.

Edits on the Yak Guy Project are finished. I'm going to put it aside for a while to work on other projects. Quite honestly, I'm thinking about submitting it to a publisher. I haven't submitted anything for years, but maybe the hybrid author is the way to go. Right now, I just need time to think about it all.

I got another five star review today for the Second Experimental Notebook. I need to write a third one of these, and they make a great side project. Not just yet though.

First I need more micro-fiction for October. I intended to write one today, but never got that far. I might rough one out while my ballgame is on.

Ah, here you go. See all happy today.

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Entertaining Stories – Unplugged

We got a last minute chance to make it a camping weekend. It happened with very little warning, but it's hard to pass up these opportunities.

I wanted to check out Bull Trout Lake, because I'd heard good things about it from someone else. Like all campgrounds under the Forest Circus, most of the sites are reservation only, with four or five going to first come – first served. We didn't show up fast enough.

That left us scrambling for a place to camp, and we grabbed the first decent spot we found. Turns out it was a very nice site, but too close to the highway for my tastes. The highway only gets light use, and seems to die down about bedtime.

This was my weekend office. I took a book, a manuscript that needs edited, and the idea for a short story along with me. I managed some reading and editing.

This was a wildlife dead zone for some reason. There were no birds, no squirrels, not even the typical morning deer visit. The camp was covered in some kind of sego lily though, and they were pretty.

There was a nice stream just beyond our campsite, and Otto was thrilled. He isn't much of a swimmer, but wading and drinking wild water is a big deal. Go Otto, it's the little things right, buddy.

Frankie wasn't too interested in the stream. She preferred sunrise with Dad while editing and reading.

She's lost that baby face, but doesn't quite look like an adult yet. She had a good time chewing up sticks and chasing her ball, but developed a “hot spot” underneath her harness. It will take a couple of days to dry that out.

We took a drive to Stanley on Saturday. Stanley is traditionally one of the coldest spots in North America. People only notice that in the winter, but it applies in the summer too. Most of the time, it's either Stanley, or Whitefish, Montana. There are times where it's colder in Stanley and Whitefish than in the arctic.

We went to check out Stanley Lake along the way. I've always wanted to camp there, and my wife wrote down the slot numbers for the best spaces. Maybe in February we'll reserve one of the good ones and not chance to luck. That's how far ahead you have to reserve a site.

We went on to Redfish Lake, because we had a great weekend there years ago. It's too damned busy now, and we'll be giving Redfish a pass. Beautiful, yes – soothing, no.

I stopped along the way and grabbed you a random tourist shot of the Sawtooth Mountains. Maybe you'll want to visit one day.

I got a lot of reading done. I made progress on the editing. Short stories just weren't possible.

I decided to watch the stars come out last night, and thought I might see a bat. Woods, plus stream, equals insects – which bats love. Nary a bat in sight. Not even a Black Butte Porter or two helped me focus enough see one. I did get a fun idea for a story I'm going to call Little Brown Bat. It will probably be a bit of micro-fiction and post on my blog.

I missed the whole blog, social media, projects aspect of the weekend, but that's kind of the point. Sometimes a guy just needs to unplug. It would defeat the purpose to try and make up for everything I missed. If you posted something I should see, please let me know. I like to support my fellow authors. Heaven forbid I missed something that pertained to me or one of my books, so drop me a line if that's the case.

Otherwise, I spent the weekend unplugged away from wifi and even cellular service, and I'm not going to work doubly hard to catch up with everything.

Hope all of you had great weekends too.

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Dragon Ass

Okay, this isn't a post about dragons. It's a post about attitude. My regulars will understand how my mojo flew out the window this week, and it's only fair to give you a small update.

Our veterinarian and our favorite breeder both gave us a measure of comfort with our loss of little Nyx. The vet said that heat stroke should not have happened in thirty minutes. Not with her in a shaded back yard and access to water. He said that Nyx may have had some other problem that was not known and contributed to her death. The other dogs were out there too and were unscathed.

Thinking back on it, she was the one who sat on the air conditioner vent regularly. Maybe he's onto something.

The breeder said she's lost dogs to heat before, and our dogs' father is susceptible to heat problems. She thinks we're lovely people, and can't think of better pet owners. I appreciate her sentiments, but beyond the regular bulldog problems with heat, maybe this bloodline is more susceptible to heat problems.

There is the possibility that our son isn't telling us the whole truth either. Maybe it was more than thirty minutes. We were only gone two hours, and nyx was happily licking my ear before we left.

It could also be a hideous cocktail of those facts. At this point we know all we're ever going to know, and the assessments are not conclusive.

We're both devastated. My wife couldn't go to work on Wednesday, and I had to leave after about an hour and come home myself. We both regularly place a hand on our remaining dogs just to see if they're breathing. We had them both wearing wet bandanas yesterday, because even with the air conditioner and overhead fan, we couldn't get the house below seventy-eight degrees last night. (I almost put one on myself.)

Frankie is having a hard time too. She wouldn't eat the first day, and kept looking for her sister. We finally had to buy a new outer bowl, run the glass insert through the dishwasher, and then she ate just fine. The other stuff smelled like Nyx, and I'm sure that's what the problem was. She's needed some extra ball playing, and spent a lot of time in my lap this morning with what we call poodle time.

Otto is still convalescing himself. He has good days and bad days. We have another appointment to see what more we can do for him. It's some kind of pinched nerve like sciatica, and that's about all we know. He feels decent and wants to play, which leads to a tough night after the exertion.

I'm still waiting for a formatted manuscript. I'll publish The Enhanced League as soon as I get one, then I'll put out a call for blog hosts. I'm the one being difficult and demanding here, in case you're wondering.

Beyond that, I assembled and scheduled next week's Lisa Burton Radio post. I also moved another one ahead in the queue. I need to keep working on these, lest my volunteers think I'm blowing them off, but with twenty five applicants, it does no good to get them all ready at once.

I finally got around to changing my wallpaper. Since July is determined to be so hot, I thought heat was an appropriate theme. Heat has caused all the disasters around my life this week too.

I'm going to see if I can work up a couple more promotional posts for Enhanced League. I may have enough, but might find a decent excerpt to share somewhere and those make fun posts.

I need to catch up on some reading too. I don't know if my mood is great for that until I try. I have several books I want to get to and may take a shot at one.

I really need to get on with The Yak Guy Project, but have been putting it off. This is for a couple of selfish reasons. I don't want to get tangled up during the Enhanced League release, and I don't want to release a novel during the summer months. Releasing Enhanced League around Major League Baseball's Allstar Break might not be so bad.

So that's me this weekend. I'll get some things done, but I'm kind of draggin' ass at the moment. (Wow, I've always free written the blog, but I'm starting a lot of sentences with I today. I don't think I'll edit it either.)

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Weeds

My wife has a thing for weeds. Maybe I've written about this before, but she buys them and decorates the house with them. I'm not a fan, but I don't hate them either. Maybe indifferent is the right word here.

Saturday night she was visiting family in Nevada. I was home watching puppies and taking care of Otto. My son and I stayed up late playing Diablo III because it has a new expansion pack.

Otto stirred in the middle of the night. He's been doing this due to pain, and sometimes he needs to go outside. He wasn't grumbling about the pain, and he had a pretty good weekend. At this pace, he'll be back to his old shenanigans in a couple of months.

This time he was upset about something. He didn't bark, like he would if a neighbor dog barked or someone was in the park next door, but something had him shook up. I walked over to him and put a hand on his head.

Then I heard something like the sound of water being poured on a hard floor. That's the best way to describe it. It had to have been about three AM, and I also thought of a rattlesnake, but that would be completely absurd.

I opened the bedroom door to peek into the kitchen. It's the only hard surface we have right now. Then I heard it again. It was behind me.

I walked to my nightstand and turned on the lights, and it sounded from my wife's jar of weeds. Now the windows are closed and they are away from the air conditioning vent too. I glanced left and right of them; nothing.

It sounded again. This time the weeds toward the middle were vibrating. The megaphone shaped arrangement seemed to be causing a mild amplification to the noise.

My first thought was mouse, but we haven't had a mouse ever since we moved to Idaho.

It sounded again, and I picked up on the rhythm of the noise. I shook the vase, but couldn't get it to sound again. I am certain that a moth fluttered in there and got stuck.

At this point the puppies were thoroughly interested too, so I forced them all to go outside and go potty… Otto too. When they finished, I went back to sleep and never gave it a second thought.

As an author, you can bet I chalked it up. I may never use it, but it could enhance a story or turn into a Macabre Macaroni type story at some time.

Has anything like this ever happened to you in the middle of the night?

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