Tag Archives: parenting

Trying to get something done

I’ve had a lot of time to myself, but not a ton of motivation. That isn’t quite right either, I desired to work on some writing related projects, I just didn’t feel like it. Today seemed like a day to accomplish a bit more.

My daughter happened to be home again today. This means she talks my ear off. I’m pretty patient about such things, because I know there will come a time when she has better things to do. For the last three days, I’ve learned how to load a pit on an airplane, how bags get broken by falling off the conveyor belt, how some people try to sneak pets on the plane without paying for them, etc. Today I learned all about the color wheel and how to apply eye makeup. At some point my ears started to get tired.

After my makeup tutorial, I told her I needed some quiet time to get some things done. She decided today was a good time to run some errands downtown. It feels kind of mean, but she is an adult and I need my time too.

My partner and I went to work on projects.

I opened my art program and did what I could to decorate for Christmas on my blog. Could be better, could be worse. It was time to retire the time machines and move ahead. It may seem like a tiny effort, but I’m counting updating the site as an accomplishment.

My app added some cool new brushes to the mix. Now it does things like add falling snow with one swipe. There is even one for a corrugated tin wall. Don’t know how I’ll use those just yet, but they’re cool.

I finished up a small guest post I committed to and sent it off. Nothing like waiting until the last minute, but it’s all delivered.

I lengthened my manuscript out to the end of a short chapter one. Two thirds of my characters are on the page, they have a problem, and a dream for the future. What they don’t have is personality. The damned thing reads like deadpan facts. I need to work on it, and have a few physical hand brushes and such that can add something to their relationship. Rather than just grabbing a quick bite before they head for the shelter they could feed each other. Little flourishes, but I’ll work on it.

Chapter one ends with a scream, and chapter two will introduce my antagonist. (There are only three characters in the story, plus a few news reports and such.)

I’m going to claim daily blog updates as an accomplishment too.

I fiddled around with Pinterest, which is a great time waster. One of my folders is called Loose Collections, and it’s getting too big. There are some things I can break into their own folders, and should do that. I have a lot of classic cars, some pinup art, that kind of thing. I also need to revisit the board for Estivation. I’m writing it now, so there some inspiration and a few reminders are stored there. Moving things around is kind of a pain from what I can tell. First I have to make the new board, then re-pin everything I want in it, then delete the pin from Loose Collections. They really need a way to mass select and move the pins.

On the spinal front, I managed a tiny pop yesterday, and it felt a bit better. The pain has virtually gone from my left leg. I started waddling up and down the sidewalk out front. Just short stretches, multiple times. I feel like I need to move around.

Yesterday I was limping on two legs, today it’s just one. I didn’t feel like I was getting a full stride, if that makes any sense. I leaned against a post, and just swung my leg. It may have looked like a kick, but it was more of a dead-weight type thing. My back popped again. I felt even better.

Everything is improving at the speed of a glacier, but it is improving. I’m determined to go into the office tomorrow. It all depends on how hard it is to get out of bed, and get socks on my feet. I’ve been sleeping in a chair, and I’m trying the bed again tonight.

I already told my boss I would try. I also told her I might not last all day. That all depends upon how my desk chair treats me. It’s pretty hard, but it’s uber adjustable too. She has no problem with me staying home, but I’m dedicated.


Filed under Uncategorized, Writing

Frankie the Fish, on #LisaBurtonRadio

Hello all you watersprites and merfolk, you selkies and Aquarians. You've found this week's edition of Lisa Burton Radio. I'm your host, Lisa the robot girl, and I have a very special guest with me today, please welcome Frankie the Fishtastic.

“Thank you, Lisa Burton. I am pleased that you have acknowledged my fish-tasticness. This will be a great interview. I also welcome my fellow creatures of the deep as well as those who live on land.”

“My bio says you are the supervisor of the Chameleon family. Do most families have a supervisor where you live?”

“Most families in New Town do not require a supervisor. It was not my intention to watch over the doings of the Chameleon family, but they are so in need. I help them out in this capacity with the understanding that they will never truly understand my gift to them.”

“And where do you stay? Do you live at the Chameleon household, or do you have an office somewhere?”

“I have several homes. My primary home is a 10 gallon aquarium, tastefully decorated by me. I have a cave, my sword, and a mermaid or two that keep me company. I also have a fishbowl which is used when I eat with the Chameleon family in the first floor kitchen. You see, I sometimes supervise cooking. I also have a portable home in Charlie’s backpack. I go with to help him keep out of trouble, although I don’t think he appreciates all I do for him.”

“So you're, um, actually a fish then?”

“Well of course! Why else would I live in water? Really, Lisa Burton, that was not logical.”

“Well, the show must go on. What kind of activities do you supervise?”

“Recently, bullying. Charlie decided that he wanted to invite friends over to make cookies. I told him that cookies would be a fish-tastic idea but he should remember not to put onions it them, yuck. But that’s a story for another day.

“When he said he was having Boris Bunny over, I got really worried and told him that wasn’t a good idea. Boris has issues. He can be a bully. Once he had the nerve to try and squish me. Fish don’t like hugs! Then Charlie was thinking about inviting Gary Gecko, too. The Bunny and the Gecko don’t get along.

“Charlie was asking for trouble.”

“And did Charlie take your advice, or did he find his own path?”

“Triton, no. He invited them both over without letting each other know. Can you believe it? He did promise to keep Boris away from me and also that he would not put onions in the cookies. Thank goodness for that. Even the birds wouldn’t eat the leftovers.”

“Sounds like Charlie is lucky to have you, even if it's a tough love situation.”

“Indeed. Charlie is one lucky Chameleon.”

“My author, that Ellen woman, delivered a passable product. I suggested to her subconsciously to rewrite it to include some activities the readers can complete at the end of each chapter. Can you believe she thinks they are all her ideas?”

“That sounds like fun, and gets the readers involved too. She sounds like a very creative author to me.”

“Ellen is a serviceable employee. She needs to leave the mermaids alone though. She’s given me a love-fear relationship with them that I find very confusing.”

“And on that note, Frankie, do you have any closing comments for our listeners today?”

“Gentle listeners, and not so gentle ones, I am so pleased that you showed good taste and listened in to my interview. You can learn more about my adventures, and Charlie’s too in The Adventures of Charlie Chameleon series. The author really should have titled the series after me, but what can I say. There is only so much one fish can do, no matter how awesome.

“I had a fish-tastic time, Lisa Burton. If you ever find a way to shift yourself along the grid to one of the eBooks, I’d be happy to entertain you in my world. I doubt Charlie would mind.”

“You can read more about Charlie Chameleon and Frankie's supervision skills in the book, The Adventures of Charlie Chameleon: School Days, by Ellen L. Buikema. I'm sure you'll find her more than a serviceable author.

“Don't forget to use those sharing buttons today, I'm sure Ellen would appreciate it, and Frankie would demand it. Then they'll do it for you, when your character appears on the next Lisa Burton Radio.”


The Adventures of Charlie Chameleon: School Days

Charlie Chameleon and his friends are having trouble with Boris Bunny, the class bully. Charlie thinks Boris is putting on an act, but his friends disagree. Follow Charlie’s adventures as he helps Boris learn how to be a friend.

Charlie's School Days – book trailer

Purchase Link

Now you can ask Frankie A Question

Read the answers here

About the Author:

Ellen Buikema is a parent, writer, speaker and educator. She received a M.Ed. specializing in Early Childhood from the University of Illinois in Chicago and has extensive post-graduate work in special education from Northeastern Illinois University. She writes adult nonfiction and fiction for children, sprinkling humor everywhere possible. Ellen is the author of The Adventures of Charlie Chameleon series and Parenting . . . A Work in Progress. She has begun research for a Young Adult historical fiction.

Social Media Contacts:








Amazon Author Page


Filed under Lisa Burton Radio

Life throws curves.

It really isn't all that easy being a writer. For me, this requires being left alone for lengths of time to get words on the page. I can usually futz about characters and plot during my commute. I've written before about commuting with Lorelei, the Muse. This is beneficial, because there are no other distractions, like WordPress, email, Twitter. I have a routine these days. I get up early on my days off, and write about all the things that came together during my commute hours. It isn't perfect, but it works.

My life changed radically over the weekend. Our 27 year old son moved back in last night. This isn't completely unexpected. He's been living unhappily with a girl for years now, and threatens to move back home regularly. He hasn't worked in years, and I do mean years. He claims back problems, but that's pretty hard to prove medically.

I don't know that I care one way or the other about proof. The fact is that he is here now, and I have my suspicions it will be a permanent change.

My wife and daughter had a major blowout last night. I only got to hear half of it, because it was over the phone. It's one every parent has on occasion. The child is a pig, and expects the parents to clean up after her. It's usually covered up with, “I'll do it later,” or some other fiction. It's not a life changing problem, but it is tension I prefer not to have.

As a result, my daughter stayed with a friend last night. She came home and slammed a door about 6:00 AM. This was my alarm clock for the day. She left for work at 8:00 or so.

Today is a national holiday in the US. I am supposed to be alone to work on my projects. But I'm not alone, and may never be alone again. To an introvert like me, this is poison.

There are some loopholes. My daughter did go to work. My son will spend 90% of his time in his bedroom. There will probably be some loud television, or music to contend with. Perhaps I can relocate to my own bedroom, or the back porch when the weather improves. I could even go to the storage lot and write in the camper.

I shouldn't have to, but that's reality.

My wife and I were pretty happy about being empty nesters. It looks like our happiness was short lived. We'll have to try finding happiness in some other way. We've always done date night, but it will be more important now.

I tried my best to work through all of this. I was even moderately successful. The Yak Guy Project has another 2200 words, and I got to a huge plot point in his adventure. I'd rather have added 10,000 words, but I'll take what I can get.

I also managed to add 1200 words to side project. This one is a science fiction short story. I have no planned word count for it. It will finish wherever it finishes.

I've come to the realization that finishing motivates me. Short form fiction satisfies me almost like a cookie as a child's reward. When I read a novella, I feel good to have finished something. When I write a micro-fiction, it feels good to finish. I read several books of short stories last year, and every story was like a little reward.

Speaking of treats, I dealt with the other story that really needed italics. I rewarded myself by washing out my Stipula Gladiator fountain pen. (Hail Cobby) It has an italics nib, and I filled it with a nice blue black ink. I've been using it to make notes on paper about characters, possible names, word counts, and more. I didn't need to, but it makes me happy.

Finishing could be why having a short side project is working for me. With the turmoil under my roof, the scales may tip toward more short form stuff. It isn't what I want, but it is a possibility. Right now, I'm not giving up on my 2016 business plan. I still hope to have The Playground out near the end of winter. I would like to get Yak Guy out before snow flies next year.

I managed part of an editing pass on The Playground last night. This was before everything landed. This story involves three alternating stories that weave together to tell a bigger one. One of the editing projects involves reading each story by itself to see if the continuity works. I've finished two, and am part way through the last one. This is the character that carries the burden of the speculative element to the story.

Once I get cover art, I'll ask for beta readers. I have an artist, but we haven't even tried to discuss it yet. I have him working on a Lisa project right now.

So, I accomplished a few things. I might have accomplished more, but that's not certain. I don't like my current situation, but I'm kind of stuck with it. It's still early today, and I might get more of that editing pass finished.

I have a busy week ahead of me at the paycheck job, and maybe that's just what I need right now. Fighting metaphorical fires requires me to turn off the part of my brain that dwells on crap. My imagination is usually worse than the reality, and maybe by next weekend the situation won't look so nasty.


Filed under Uncategorized, Writing

The Monday shuffle

I got up early this morning. My main plan was simply to read, and not much more. I started my day off with blogs. I follow hundreds of blogs these days, and I've gotten better at browsing them. I also have some I never miss, no matter what. This lasted until my daughter got out of bed.

We had a nice talk, and I vowed long ago that the world could take a backseat to my discussions with her. She's 21 now, and Dad isn't as big a part of her life these days. When I get the chances, I don't pass them up.

When she headed for work, I tore into the novel I'm reading. I'm past the half way mark right now, and excited to see where it's going. Yes, I could have done more, but my daughter intervened.

Critique group went well tonight. I knew where I was going to get called out, and this excites me. It means I'm capable of spotting my own weak spots, now I have to figure out how to wear that hat when I need it.

I checked my Amazon progress tonight. There haven't been any recent sales, but there are a lot of pages being read via Amazon Prime, or the lending library. I think that's pretty cool.

Now might be a good time to mention that all of my titles are available for free as part of your Amazon Prime subscription. It's all the same to me, and if borrowing the books works for you go for it. Even my 99¢ Notebook has been read this way. I wonder if it pays more on a paid-per-page basis than the 99¢ I'm asking. I'm happy in either case.

There were some great comments on the post about stakes in fiction. This is what blogging is all about for me. Thanks for weighing in everyone.

Right now, I'm enjoying an Elysian Brewing Punkuccino. It's a pumpkin beer with coffee, and it's very good. I'll probably spend a bit of time with a paper magazine I'm almost finished with, then it's back to the paycheck job tomorrow.


Filed under Uncategorized

Federal Holiday

It's a holiday in the USA. That means we lowly State workers also get the day off. I was unproductive — or was I?

I read blogs for hours. I still need to trim my list, but there were some good posts today. I exchanged a few emails with potential guests for Entertaining Stories. If it all pans out, there are some cool topics coming your way.

I also built a guest post to share with you tomorrow. I'll upload it before I start my commute.

My daughter and I had a great chat this morning. I always have something to do, but I never regret these opportunities. She's the only one of the kids that spends any real time with me, and that's probably because she lives here. Time is fleeting, and I'm not blowing her off to play with my imaginary friends.

I spent the rest of my time reading. I didn't finish, like I planned, but that's okay. This one is Maplecroft, by Cheri Priest. I'm really enjoying it, and facinated by the use of epistolary style. I've always wanted to try this, but don't know if I'm clever enough.

I'm sure I'll try epistolary style one day. I may need a bit more maturity as a writer to pull it off. I can see that some redundancy is a necessary evil. Each character learns the facts individually, so there is some repetition. To skip over that would ruin the style. It's kind of like using “I” and “me” in first person; it has to be done. I wonder if this style would work in one of my short stories?

While doing these other things, the clouds parted a bit around my novel. I don't have all the details worked out, but there is some clarity. My anti-hero is going to prevail at one point…but it has to be the heroine's fault. She has to torture herself and feel the loss before she can prevail.

I have no idea how I'm going to pull this off, but the distractions seem to be helping. Maybe I can convince my Muse to commute with me tomorrow. Maybe I should bake muffins.


Filed under Writing