Tag Archives: Otto

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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A recipe for dead motivation

My critique group met last night, and we exchanged efforts. Everyone is loving Yak Guy still, so I'm taking that as a good sign.

I stayed up late last night playing Diablo III with my son. We downloaded a new expansion pack and created a couple of new necromancers to fight evil with. This is part of the recipe… up late.

At four AM, Nyx started barking behind my headboard. She squeezed back there and couldn't figure out that she had to go backwards to get out. She decided to try digging at my nightstand instead. I had to remove a king sized mattress, partially slide back the box springs, and motivate her with words I don't usually speak at four o'clock.

I tried to go back to sleep, but at six I gave up. Sleep deprivation, part of the recipe.

Otto returned to the vet yesterday, and he is doing better. He has good days and bad days, but there is nothing wrong with his bones or joints. More pain meds for him for the time being. Emotionally, part of the recipe.

I've hit it hard in the early part of my vacation. I even managed over a thousand words of a short story I agreed to write. The target is 5000 words by August, so I'm in good shape there.

In order to get this vacation, I agreed to a business lunch downtown today. I also agreed to proofread some things from my Executive Director. She emailed what she has and I marked it up and threw it in my truck.

This was the point where my mojo took a leave. I knew I had this meeting. I have to put on pants. From six AM through the meeting, I did virtually nothing. Nyx wanted to cuddle most of the morning and I let her. She never wants to cuddle, that's more Frankie and Otto's thing. Maybe she's being sorry for the headboard incident. I also read a few chapters of a craft book I've been picking away at.

I've been productive, and I'll include some details. I will be productive again this week. Today may not be the day. Here is the list I posted on friday:

Projects for my week off:

  • Re-read The Enhanced League and make edits.
  • Figure out how to add images to the back of the book and actually make them look good.
  • Get the final MS out to the formatter, and pay her. Still waiting for an invoice.
  • Assemble a guest post I agreed to host. Became two and I did both of them.
  • Work on Lisa Burton Radio stuff as it comes in. Moderate success, needs more effort.
  • Finish up a post I've been working on to appear elsewhere. Delivered it too.
  • Start the word searches on Yak Guy.
  • Read Yak Guy and start editing.
  • Write blog tour posts for Enhanced League. Have five done, need more.

Depending on how well I do, I can get to some of these:

  • Research and assemble something I'd like to post for July 4th.
  • Publish The Enhanced League.
  • Put out a request for blog tour hosts.
  • Do some deeper research and start writing my time travel short story for an anthology. 1000 words and counting. Target is 5000.

Looks like I need to focus on Lisa Burton Radio, the blog tour posts, and my short story. Yak guy can take a back seat while I get Enhanced League out the door.


I may find some scraps of motivation today. I'll update this evening. Right now I have to find pants.

***

Post meeting:

My daughter was supposed to give me a haircut this afternoon, but has misplaced her shears and her combs. She really does give the best haircuts, but aside from chewing the hair off, I don't know what she can do. This would have been the perfect day for it too.

Now one of her friends is here, and they're watching movies in the living room. Some days you just have to run up the white flag and surrender.

I still have four more days to work on projects, and my wife decided to go to Nevada this weekend. That will make for a nice quiet house.

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Vacation Update

I skipped my Sunday evening post to honor the guest I hosted. I'm typing this right now with Frankie straddled across one leg. She's the smaller of the puppies and more into cuddling than Nyx is.

Nyx is crashed out on the floor in a typical bulldog pose. Four feet in the air and snoring away. Otto is restless and uncomfortable. His pain medication seems to be helping, but not enough. I think we need to go back to the vet and see if there's more that can be done. I miss my happy-go-lucky dog, and he's more like an old dog that just sleeps all the time.

I've been getting things done, despite my little typing handicap. The Enhanced League is with the formatter, and we've exchanged a few emails. I've been working on blog tour posts, and have four of them roughed out, two as me and two from Lisa so she can distribute her posters. I need more, but it's progress.

I got my critique submissions all printed and worked up. I even put them in the truck so I won't forget them at tomorrow night's meeting.

Somewhere in the mix, I put my final touches on the Story Empire post and it went live this morning.

I got the initial shtick out for a couple of the Lisa Burton Radio posts. First finished, first posted on those. I need to work up a few more of these, because authors all work at different speeds. Some of them are waiting for publication dates and that's wise too. I will massage the schedule to time with their release dates.

The precursory research for my time travel story is done, but I need to do some deeper research. I also did a bit of research for my Fourth of July post. It's mostly a graphic, but I still want a few words.

For the remaining work, I need to finish reading the craft book I've been working through. There is also a novel I'd like to start reading. I need to write more blog tour posts, and a few per day feels like the right pace. I never know how many volunteers I'll get until I ask for them, and I like to be prepared. I'll have my own critiques to address after tomorrow night.

Then there is The Yak Guy Project. I swore I'd never release another book during the summer, but it looks like Enhanced League will come out in July. That might not be so bad for a 99ยข special that deals with baseball, a summer sport. Yak Guy might just have to wait until September, even if I get it ready before that. The challenge is to get it ready now. I can't procrastinate and cause it to come out months later.

I just checked on Lisa Burton Radio, which I track with another living document. It makes a statement about our society, that a nice post called Dear Lisa doesn't get any response. She pulls on her booty shorts and shakes her sign and gets twenty-one and counting responses. I've learned a lot about women in our society from Lisa, and tried to address some of that in The Enhanced League. (Fingers crossed. As a man, I may not have gotten it perfect.)

For the rest of today, I may read, I may write guest posts, I may edit on Yak guy. My son tells me there is an update coming on Diablo III that provides a new character class that we both want to try. It's supposed to come out this week, so I may chuck the whole thing and play video games. I am on vacation after all.

 

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Taskmaster

I don't have to return to the paycheck job until July 3rd. I've been trying to get this week off since April, but things have been too busy at work. It isn't perfect right now either, but I need my time off.

I got enough response to my request for guest authors to carry Lisa Burton Radio into October without missing a week. This means working on those posts will be part of what I have to do.

I need to work through two critiques this weekend, and have them ready for our meeting on Tuesday.

I could have gotten my first book out by now if I'd have gotten the time off, but I didn't and it's time to do something about it. Those of you who know me will recall that I like to make a list.

Projects for my week off:

  • Re-read The Enhanced League and make edits.
  • Figure out how to add images to the back of the book and actually make them look good.
  • Get the final MS out to the formatter, and pay her.
  • Assemble a guest post I agreed to host.
  • Work on Lisa Burton Radio stuff as it comes in.
  • Finish up a post I've been working on to appear elsewhere.
  • Start the word searches on Yak Guy.
  • Read Yak Guy and start editing.
  • Write blog tour posts for Enhanced League.

Depending on how well I do, I can get to some of these:

 

  • Research and assemble something I'd like to post for July 4th.
  • Publish The Enhanced League.
  • Put out a request for blog tour hosts.
  • Do some deeper research and start writing my time travel short story for an anthology.
Nine days, Thirteen items on my list. Some of those are pretty variable, like the Lisa interviews. Might get one to work on, or a dozen.

On top of that, I intend to hang out with Otto, drink some beer, watch a few baseball games, and I might even play a video game. It's a vacation after all.

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Release the pressure, be calm

It's fairly well documented that I put pressure on myself, then I stress when things don't go according to plan. Today I did something about it.

I asked for vacation time all next week, and it got approved. I feel like the clouds have parted, and the pressures all disappeared. Of course, I set the stage for a good week by finishing my beta edits over the weekend. After a couple of read throughs, I can send The Enhanced League to the formatter. I'm toying with the idea of including all the Lisa Burton posters at the end. Maybe someone will like them as cool freebies.

Once I get Enhanced League to the formatter, I need to start on edits for The Yak Guy Project. I also need to write tour posts for Enhanced League. Once I have everything, I'll put out a call for hosts, and try to figure out if they want me or Lisa to visit their sites.

If I can do all that, and get Yak Guy ready for beta readers, it will have been a good vacation. I don't feel like it's a huge, unreasonable goal. I don't have to go back until July third, and then I get the fourth off.

I have my critique group in there somewhere, so I'll have to work up their pages. I sent my own submission off this evening… while enjoying a glass of Talisker.

For those who are waiting, we took Otto back to the vet this afternoon. This whole pain thing has nothing to do with pecans. It's a neurological thing, involving his spine somewhere around his tail. He is in incredible pain, and we now have even more medication to try.

What really bothers me about this is that on Friday he was the happiest dog in the world. Today he can barely walk. We can't think of anything that happened to him, beyond the pecan debacle, and the vet says it has nothing to do with that. He didn't fall, nobody was physically abusive to him, the puppies certainly didn't hurt him. We're supposed to give him his medication and stand by. We were told to keep him calm for about ten days even after he starts feeling better. I guess in baseball terms, he's on the ten day DL list.

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The Best?

Otto is still hurting, and there isn't much I can do about it. His pain killers make a huge difference, and time is the other necessary ingredient. He's sleeping under my feet as I type this. Walking around hurts, but he feels better afterward. We're going to take all of them for a walk after supper.

I got up early again, and this time I tackled the last beta edit for The Enhanced League. When everyone got up, it looked as though I wouldn't finish. It involved some big changes. The riskiest of which was to cut one story from the manuscript and move it. This is because I can't read a calendar, and the book goes in calendar order. I must have checked it three times myself, and six out of seven beta readers missed it too. Thank God for the seventh one.

The way this year has gone, I want to whisper this, but “I finished!” This isn't the end, yet. I need to read it a couple more times, before sending it to my formatter, but this is a major hurdle.

We got away for a few hours today and saw Wonder Woman. We have several movies we wanted to see, and I let my wife choose. She chose well.

I've been reading or watching superheroes since the 1960s. I watched the Adam West Batman when it was originally broadcast. I saw Superman, with Christopher Reeve in the theater. (Actually watched the old Superman series in black and white, but they were reruns.)

I've been at about all the superhero movies since then; Avengers, Spiderman, Batman, X-Men, etc. Some of them are amazing surprises, like Ant Man, or the first Ghostrider. Some of them just don't get there for me. I've even watched the pseudo superheroes, like Zorro, Lone Ranger, and The League of Extrordinary Gentlemen.

Having qualified my viewing credentials, I think I'm ready to call it: Wonder Woman is the best superhero movie I've ever seen. Let the teeth gnashing begin.

I checked some reviews. The reviews are polarizing. The reviewer either feels as I do, or it's the worst movie ever. This smacks of an old bitch that's been around forever, Marvel fanboys. If it isn't Marvel, it must be destroyed at all costs.

Marvel owns the superhero world right now. They've done fantastic things, and will do more. I love them, but it doesn't mean other great characters aren't out there, or that someone else can't pull this off. DC is famous for trotting out terrible movies based upon their characters, but this time they got it right.

Gal Gadot is a perfect Wonder Woman. She is beautiful enough, and I applaud DC in going with someone who wasn't a mainstream actress. Maybe they learned their lesson with Halley Berry. I like the idea that she looks athletic, but still female. They could have gone for a body builder, but stuck more with the track star physique.

She did a fine job too. When she smiles it lights up the theater. When she's supposed to be pissed, she looks pissed. No botoxed to death face here.

Chris Pine was great too. He is the bigger name, and could have taken over. He played the supporting role well. He may not remain the bigger name, but remember casting this one happened before Dawn of Justice.

There were some things, there always are. I saw the twist coming a mile away. I also don't recall the big reveal about Diana's parentage, and I subscribed to the comic for years. I'll call it poetic license and let it be.

I like the idea that Diana's mission was basically a hit job. She actually killed the guy with a sword too. There's no sugar coated girly cheesecake here. The fact that this kind of story is a hit with fans makes me feel a lot better about my next book.

My next work is going to be called The Hat. It's all outlined, but still needs a few things. It's going to be a paranormal buddy story with shades of Deathwish and Deadpool. If Diana can ventilate the bad guy, I think I'm on solid ground.

Tonight I'm having the last of my morels over a nice ribeye. Maybe I'll crack open a nice porter too. Hope everyone had a great weekend.

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