Tag Archives: Otto

Sometimes even I get lucky

Today was supposed to be my last real writing day this weekend. I took it in that spirit, and cranked out 3200 words this morning. I forced myself to stick with Serang, because I want to get through the middle slog.

This was with an hour delay to update iOS, and Apple Pages, which is my word processor.

Our fictional caravan spotted the bandit’s fire before trouble began. They chose their ground and compelled the bandits to come to them. This led to a big fight, and Serang had to fight with an alternate weapon or two when she lost her staff. Turns out she’s pretty good at combat improv.

The caravan leader decided to make a forced march to get out of the bandit territory. All in all, that’s a pretty great writing day for me.

Then something miraculous happened. Old What’s Her Face came home from work and announced she is going to Nevada to hang out with her brother for the weekend.

Being the dutiful pet father that I am, I volunteered to babysit the dogs and tend the home fires. We played a little ball, I had a sandwich, then we all took a short nap.

I got up, and turned my attention to my MS again. Otto, not so much.

Daily word count is at 4300 and counting. I need to stop for a while to scrounge something for dinner. I also need to do a bit of research about their next obstacle. So I’ll leave Serang and company at the desert water hole that’s operated under a loose treaty with a killer baboon. He’s not kidding, but if everyone behaves they may not have a problem.

There is a real place in Namibia called the Wind Cathedral. You’ll have to Google it, because I can’t find any free use pictures. Basically, I’m going to turn the dial up on this and make it into a desert maze they have to go through. Since there are so many references to temples in this story, I’ll rename it something like the Temple of Wind.

This particular water hole is the tipping point of this journey. Serang and her master are going to leave the caravan and set off on their mission alone from here. I have a cool piece of folklore I can’t wait to write, and I’m making the whole thing up.

Since I have all night tonight, plus all day and night tomorrow, I may really make some progress on this story. I feel like the toughest part of the middle is behind me now.

Who knows, I may actually get to publish this one before school lets out. Cover art has been ordered already.

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Pretty good flex day

This is my last flex day of 2018. On holidays, we work eight hour days, because so many people want time off. I only have Christmas Day off next week, and New Year’s Day off the next one.

I wanted to accomplish some things today, and feel like I’ve done that. I started off by opening a can of chicory coffee and making some. It’s kind of a treat, and not what I usually buy. I like to get a small can once in a while, like today.

Social media is always my first stop, so I worked through email and such. Then I turned my attention to some critiques I received. Working through this section a couple of times served the same purpose as reading my last chapter, so I figured to give it a go.

I wound up with 2600 words, and that makes for a nice day for me. My characters, argued, chased two different kinds of monsters around, and shot the crap out of things. I think they had fun too.

Confession time here. I don’t have a detailed storyboard for this one, and I’m struggling with word count again. I may have to give up some writing time, and make a board for the portions that are left. This one is extremely character driven, so the plot doesn’t have to be quite as heavy. I still need one though, and the characters ought to be moving it along.

Second confession time. I’m writing two books at once. This is almost always a problem, but I’m doing it again anyway.

Then I turned my attention to Lisa Burton Radio. I have tomorrow’s post all written and scheduled. It promises to be a fun one, so make sure you swing through.

I still have another one to prepare the shtick for, but I normally wouldn’t do that until Saturday. I might still do it this afternoon.

Other duties include the Christmas Eve post at Story Empire. I still have no idea what I’m going to do there, but I’ll come up with something. It probably isn’t the best day to conclude the mini-series about writing small, then medium, then large.

I also think next week might not be the best week to force upon one of Lisa’s guests. I may write something up for myself just to fill the slot.

If I don’t do anything else today, it was a good day. I may just play with the dogs and hang out. Or storyboard. I should be storyboarding.

This is squirrel patrol in the big chair with me. Note Otto’s open and alert eye as he scans the back fence. He couldn’t catch one in a million years, but he enjoys the chase.

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Flex Day Fun

I didn’t produce any new words of fiction today, but got a lot accomplished. I looked over four chapters for a friend and exchanged thoughts on that. Then I wrote two blog posts for Story Empire. I have one more, but it’s late in December so I’m stalling that one.

It may not seem like much, but there was a lot of time involved. I feel pretty good about it all.

What it served to do was clear the deck for my next effort. I’ll have to re-read my WIP, then I intend to move it forward as best I can.

There were obstacles, there are alway obstacles. This time it was in the form of Frankie the bulldog.

I swear she wanted outside a hundred times today. She likes to play with the neighbor dog. They run up and down the fence together and act all tough.

She’s also become pretty good at spotting the squirrel. She doesn’t care about the squirrel, but she wants Otto to chase him. This is because she bites Otto in the butt while he chases the squirrel.

She spotted it on the fence this morning so I let her out. She stopped on the porch and looked back for Otto. Once he was ready, it was all fun and games again.

She’s also taken to flopping across the back of my chair like a monkey. She leans her head over my shoulder and occasionally licks my glasses. Makes it kind of hard to write if I can’t see.

This is an older picture, but you get the idea. I keep thinking, “We named the monkey Jack.” It makes a pretty good position for squirrel spotting.

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A long week.

This was the week I went to San Antonio. That’s really nothing new, at my level seminars are a fact of life. This one had its good and not-so-good parts. Some of that has to do with my seasoning. I’ve been around this stuff for a long time, and it’s getting kind of hard to show me something new. They managed it though.

One of the unexpected things is kind of telling. I’ve been to many a seminar, but the seats in those meeting rooms are starting to wear me out more than ever before. A day or two, no problem. Four days, and I think I need a wheelchair.

Add air travel into the mix, and it gets even worse. There is no such thing as a comfortable chair on an airliner. I wound up with the middle seat on all four legs of my journey. From Phoenix to Boise, the guy with the window seat never showed up. I moved over and it was wonderful just to have a bit of extra room.

I actually left my iPad Pro at the TSA check in stop in San Antonio. Fortunately, my employee spotted it and saved it for me. I’m starting to feel like I need a keeper.

As far as San Antonio goes, it rained. Then it rained some more, followed by rain, with an additional portion of rain. It stopped raining while I was at the airport to go home.

We braved it anyway. We wandered down the street to someplace called the Buckhorn Saloon for lunch. It’s one of those places that seems dedicated to taxidermy. Animals covered all the walls, and they call part of it a museum that requires an admission fee. Apparently, it was not dedicated to cleanliness. To make it clear, polar bears and mountain goats are white, not grey.

The lunch itself was pretty good, and I scored a local beer that came off quite well. Craft beer wasn’t easy to find, but Texas brands were in abundance. I wound up living on Shiner Bock. Not awesome like a craft beer, but you can live on it.

While we were there, a Ted Cruz Rally broke out. My co-worker took a photo, but I didn’t feel the need. Cruz is kind of an odd dude, and I sat on my hands, lest judgment be passed upon me.

My co-worker has several Army buddies in the area, so he went out with them most nights. The one night we wandered around didn’t turn out all that great.

We got to the Alamo just as it closed. I still snapped a photo, the only one I took.

I briefly considered storming the fortress, but that’s already been done, and seems so 1800s by today’s standards.

Note: It was raining.

Then we wandered down to the River Walk. I went through the Alamo years ago, and spent a lot of time on the River Walk. This time, the River Walk seemed like it’s lost some of its spark.

The last time I was here, there were shops, bars, and restaurants filled to overflowing. This time, very little was open, people were scarce, and some construction was going on. It does make for a lovely scene to put some vampires in and have them stalk the patrons stumbling out of the bars.

My co-worker said his buddy, a former Army Ranger, told him this part of town wasn’t a great place to hang out after dark. We took the hint and went back to the hotel. I settled for another Shiner, some poorly conceived bar food, and called it my birthday dinner. I went back to my room so I could watch the World Series. It’s hard to ask a group of Spurs fans if it would be okay to change from basketball to baseball. (Sounds like something for one of John’s top ten lists.)

Old What’s Her Face called me on Face Time, something I’d never done before. This was so I could talk to Otto. He missed me and was confused how I got inside the iPad. It was kind of fun.

When I got home, the house was dark. My wife had to work today. That didn’t stop the dogs, and they swarmed me. I had to stay up for an hour just snuggling them. (Mostly Otto.)

I have a big old list of things I should be doing today, but I’m kind of worn out. Spending a lot of time with my old friend, Mr. Hot Pad today. At least I got to spend some time editing while I was on airplanes. That and reading a mediocre craft book I bought. I’m finding that craft books are kind of like seminars these days. It’s isn’t exciting and awesome anymore, but there are small nuggets of information that I find valuable.

That was the week that was. I really do have a ton of things to do, but this whole month has been like burning the candle at both ends. I think I’ll take a day and see how I feel about it tomorrow. I wonder if John Wayne is defending the Alamo on television somewhere today.

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Trying to get some things done

I’m doing all the fussy little things today. Things like making sure I have battery chargers in my suitcase for my trip. I set out my wallet and other glasses to make sure they get packed too.

Then there are things I can’t pack until morning. Things like combs and blood pressure medication.

I used the app to get my boarding pass. It also gave me my employee’s boarding pass, and I hope it doesn’t screw him up. I suppose we can meet at TSA and go in together somehow.

I looked for a Steelers game, but it doesn’t look like there is one today.

After placing some things out, I decided to tackle a few more chapters of Lanternfish. I got through a couple, but there were interruptions.

“Daddy, this looks like fun. Check out my rope toy.”

Meanwhile, Otto decided to go spelunking again.

I’m still remembering things, and getting up to place them out for my trip. I should probably focus on that and get offline for a while.

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Presto!

Today was my day to get some things done. I screwed that up before I even got home last night. I was supposed to pick up medications for Otto, one of our dogs. This is about two blocks from where I work. I failed to do this. Let’s face it, at the end of shift you have hundreds of reps involving getting in the truck and going home.

This meant that I had to go back downtown this morning and pick up his pills. It took me an hour and a half. It’s a forty mile round trip, plus the time inside the vet’s office. It kind of killed any forward momentum I may have had.

My wife wanted to go to pizza tonight, and our daughter decided to drive over from Sun Valley to go with us. Sounds nice, right? The hospital called my wife back in, so we had to cancel the whole thing. She has to work until eight o’clock tonight. I feel bad that our daughter drove all the way over here for nothing.

I don’t know what some employers are thinking. They are cutting everyone’s hours due to what they call “low census.” I won’t go into a deep explanation, the main point is reduced hours.

When there is a problem, they seem shocked that people don’t want to drop everything and pull extra hours now. “Gasp!” I’ve learned over the years that happy employees will do anything. Unhappy employees will place you lower on the priority list.

I got a decent small visit with my daughter after Old What’s Her Face went back to work. Everyone is gone now, but it’s time for baseball.

Today, I had low expectations and failed to meet them all. Things can change fast, so I’m just going to go with it. Tomorrow will be partially about packing and getting ready for my flight. I’ll be in Texas next week, but I’ll take my iPad with me. At least I can keep up with blogs and such.

I’m looking forward to the trip. There are times in life where the author in me has to take a back seat. Perhaps I can get some forward momentum when I return. If not, I have vacation coming around the Veteran’s Day holiday.

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And Otto goes berserk

I got through a couple of my projects, then we paid the bills and managed date night. We had a couple of errands along the way, one of which involved stopping at Pet Smart for dog food. Lo and behold, pumpkin balls are available once more.

Otto is bouncing off the walls with joy. Frankie doesn’t know what to think. She has only had tennis balls, and these don’t have fur.

Ever since he was a puppy, the pumpkin ball was his favorite toy. They have a squeaker inside and they flash when they bounce. Otto is a simple soul. It doesn’t take much to make him happy. Maybe I should take a lesson from him.

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