Tag Archives: parents

Well, it happened

WordPress updated their app to the new block editor. There was the old editor which worked extremely well. Then there was the new editor which everyone hated, causing them to dig deep and keep using the old editor. Then the new block editor came along AKA Gutenberg.

For the most part, everyone hates this one, too. I figured I’d have to adapt or die, so I used it earlier today. I’m using it right now. As far as text goes, it’s no big deal.

My first experience was assembling a promotion post for a friend. I prepared and scheduled it here, then opened the old editor to add links and graphics. That’s workable, but not as cool as being able to do it all here. I like to left justify book covers and author photos. I’m going to try an experiment right here. I want to add a left justified image to this block of text. – Nope. Didn’t work. It can go above or below this paragraph, but not left justified right here.

I started writing my next Story Empire post. This one is about The Herald character. There is a certain amount of research that goes into these, too. It’s part of my Character Archetypes series over there. If you missed out on The Ally, you can click the link in this paragraph.

I’m also dabbling at some promotion for Grinders. Once again, I’m trying something new. This time I prepared a list of topics. I’m emailing that list around to my hosts. Once they choose, I’ll write the post, then do a strike-through on that topic, and add the date it will post. This is an attempt to spread promo out, keep each post original, and avoid traffic when everyone posts at once. Might work well – might be a complete disaster, but I’m doing it this way.

After I sort out each one, I’ll forward the list to my next host and let them choose. Maybe this way I can keep it going for two weeks, and won’t have to reblog several posts in one day. I’m also staying open to suggestions, because maybe someone has a theme going on their specific blog, and I can custom write something for that.

Early sales and reviews matter for a book. If you might be interested in Grinders, the image in the sidebar is linked. I think people are going to like this one, but I always feel that way. Other things you can do are to add it on Goodreads, express interest in it on BookBub, and to share it on your social media.

I don’t see myself getting any new words down this weekend. I only get two days, and Sundays are always tougher. Maybe I can get more posts about Grinders prepared and have those ready.

Today is Mom’s birthday, so I called her. I’ll still call them tomorrow. I like to stay in touch, and if some small bit of time is what it costs, it’s worth it.

We’re going to work in a small date night tonight, and might rent a movie. I also need to pay the bills sometime this weekend. Mundane stuff, but it all matters.

Hope you guys are having a good weekend out there doing some fun things.

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Small progress day

I woke up early and added a few more words to my WIP, Serang. It didn’t amount to much. When 8:00 rolled around, I talked to my parents for an hour.

Beyond that it was time for a Jimmy Dean breakfast sandwich, with a fresh cup of coffee. I added a few more words after that. All in all, it felt like a thousand new words.

Then I quit the new words idea. I needed to reread and make small corrections before sending it to my critique group. I like what’s there, but I’m always nervous about middle sections. Guess I’ll find out what they think later this week.

I should have broken it into two submissions. I didn’t really plan to get that much new stuff accomplished. My wife visiting out of state was spontaneous, so I made the best of it.

Last night I watched a dumpster fire of a ballgame instead of typing away. There’s one on now too, but it looks a bit better.

My wife made it back about an hour ago, and it looks like a wrap on my writing weekend. All in all, it was outstanding. It may be a year before I get this kind of opportunity again, so I made the best of it.

Right now, Serang and her master are camped at the mouth of a canyon and ready to enter the Temple of Wind. It’s probably good to stop here and dwell on it for a week. I need to kind of foreshadow something that is going to happen near the end of the story, and a bit of time might help me do a better job of it.

I also need to consider wind, sounds, echoes, temperatures, shadows, and more for the Temple of Wind. Time is my friend now.

Back to the real world tomorrow.

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My castaway journal #1

Woke up yesterday and spent some time on social media.

Filled up my truck and headed for Nevada around 9:00. We had some snow and I wanted to give the high desert time to melt.

Roads clear. Snow blindness was more the order of the day.

I’m in Nevada at my parents’ house. They have WiFi, but cannot find the password. My iPad is a useless brick now.

Limited to my phone on the cell network. I can no longer pigtail my iPad in. ATT wants me to upgrade. This is a new situation.

Watching a stock market ticker tape on television. I have no idea why. Mom rescued me and found the Olympics. Olympics seem to be agreeable to the natives.

Missing all your blogs. Too hard to read and interact on my phone.

I must go. The natives are calling me.

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Well, it was a weekend

I had company this weekend, so productivity was at a standstill. Mom needed a new car, and Boise is a better area to shop. That’s how it all started. My task was to take her and Dad shopping and help where I could.

Mom doesn’t shop like most people. Her goal was a purple SUV. According to the Internet, GM makes a few in that color. There just aren’t any in Idaho. We cruised the Chevrolet/GM/ whatever dealership, and there was an interesting vehicle. We elected to leave in favor of cruising the Toyota lot. My parents both know how I like Toyotas, and long term followers will remember helping Dad get a Toyota Tundra a couple of years ago. (Note for later: It has nice running boards.)

There were a better selection of Sequoias this time, but they don’t have anything in purple. I really liked a Champaign/gold one they had. The best deal was a loaner car they were selling. It was a red Lexus with 10,000 miles and a pretty good deal going with it.

Nope.

Back to the GM lot to check out the earlier vehicle. It isn’t purple, the color is called Black Current. About six hours later, we drove it back to my place. It’s a Chevrolet Traverse, and is a pretty nice SUV.

I deal with sales people every day. I was in sales for ten years. I also write articles, and make public presentations. In that world, you have to know your audience. Probably good advice for a fiction author too, but I am my first audience.

It was absurd watching two young salesmen trying to sell my mother a car. One at the Toyota dealership, and one at the GM dealership. I made the mistake of telling the Toyota kid I liked the new orange color on the trucks. He pulled a new orange Tundra around to take us driving around the lot.

Here’s the deal. I’m not the customer here. This truck didn’t have running boards, and I had a hard time getting in it. My 86 year old father was with us, and he uses a cane. He managed to crawl inside, but I still don’t know how. He drove around, including the back lot, and told us about all the different SUV models. Then in desperation, he offered to drive the lot a second time so Mom could find a different color she liked.

The Chevrolet salesman was just as bad. He talked about all the USB ports, the OnStar system, the wifi hotspot, and the magnetic phone charger built in. Mom doesn’t own a smartphone, and doesn’t want one. She certainly doesn’t have one that would use magnetic charging. She doesn’t even like Sirius radio. She doesn’t want a computer console at all, but is willing to accept there aren’t any vehicles without one.

She bought the Traverse despite the salesman’s best efforts. They treated her well because her old SUV had TV monitors in the back of the headrests. Mom sewed covers to hide them, because she heard people break in and steal them. I didn’t even know they were there. They’ve never been used… ever.

Know your audience. Don’t make an 86 year old, with a cane, crawl four feet off the ground into a gigantic pickup. Don’t try to sell an elderly woman on all the high tech features in the car. She didn’t want magnetic phone charging and wifi. She wanted purple. I even pulled the salesman aside and told him this about half-way through his pitch. It was that embarrassing. He was a nice kid, he just needs to learn some things.

The upgrades guy was a pain in the ass. He pushed the ten year extended warranty so hard that Mom wound up buying a six year warranty just to shut him up. I know he makes money on these, and doesn’t care that they probably won’t be driving at all in ten years. Finally when he mentioned how many hundred computerized components the car had, and that they were guaranteed to break down, I told him, “That doesn’t speak well for Chevrolet products if you’re guaranteeing they will break down.” I even suggested we might be better suited with a different manufacturer. That toned him down, but not much.

They got on the road early this morning, and called when they got home. I wasn’t very productive, but it was nice to help them out where I could.

Today, I managed to read one short story. Two smelly bulldogs got baths too. That’s about it around here. Hope you guys were more productive.

Next weekend isn’t looking good either. I have Thanksgiving company coming, and have to bake until the wee hours on Wednesday.

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As predicted…

I didn’t get much done this weekend. It was fun hanging out with my parents, and I even got to finish up my beer tour at Old Chicago Pizza. I earned a really nice hooded sweatshirt.

Last night we ate at The Yardhouse, and there were plenty of good beers there. I ordered the Anderson Valley Wild Turkey Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout. That’s one of my favorites, and I always have at least one when I go there. I was about beered out, so it was mostly to wash down supper. I was feeling adventurous and tried something called vampire tacos. These consist of a small flour tortilla that has been grilled somehow in a blanket of crispy cheese. I have to say they were awesome. If you live near a Yardhouse, you might want to check these out.

After Mom and Dad hit the road it looked as though I might find some reading time. It wasn’t meant to be, because I had a string of interruptions. I managed one chapter, and don’t know if my retention was all that good.

Ultimately, I decided to bag it. My son and I played Borderlands on the X-Box all afternoon. I feel like a slacker, but that’s how it went down.

In bits and pieces, I managed to get some blog things scheduled. I am a guest in a couple of places, and am hosting others here. I think I have a conflict one day, but I’ll deal with that after I figure it all out.

Back to work tomorrow for four ten-hour shifts.

I could have gotten more done. I could have gotten less done too, so I’ll take it and look forward to next weekend.

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Squeezing a post in

It's Sunday, it started like every Sunday, with a call to my parents. We talked about family triumphs and struggles, the opening day of Major League Baseball, and other things.

My son and I went to see Ghost in the Shell today. Everyone seemed to be wondering what I thought, because the reviews weren't that good. I thought it was awesome to be honest. One of the things I wanted from it was visuals of the futuristic environment.

My next novel (possibly 2018) is going to be called Grinders. It's about bio-hackers, and I want to use setting similar to what I saw in the film previews. (Okay, I'm old enough that I was thinking Blade Runner, but you get the gist.) Ghost in the Shell delivered big time, in fact, I may have to step up my setting beyond the ideas I already have.

I thought the story was good too. It wasn't overly complicated, and it suited the genre well. I would have liked to see more familiar faces, but it could be that I wasn't looking at the faces. Scarlet Johansen tends to make me look many places at once.

Tomorrow kicks off the Story Empire Blog tour I already shared with you. This is going to keep me busy. I will have a guest here tomorrow, and at the same time, I will be a guest somewhere else. Never one to slack-off, I also have the regular post in the rotation at Story Empire. This means I have some serious comments to follow across the internet.

I will not be reblogging my own tour posts, because I won't step on my guest's toes during this event. If you want to win one of my prizes, you'll have to visit my host's sites. This is the tour schedule, and there are some fun prizes up for grabs, and some great deals on good books.

Then there is the social media support to go along with it all. There are occasionally comments there that I need to respond to, on top of the WordPress comments.

During all that, I want to move ahead with my reading responsibilities. I may try reading a few chapters, surfing all the sites and media, then reading a few more chapters.

Lisa Burton, my personal assistant thinks she can explain it better than I can.

Wish me luck. Have you seen Ghost in the Shell? What did you think? Do you have any tips for keeping up with all of my blogging responsibilities?

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Sunday update

I was pretty worthless today. I have some regular events, like calling my parents, that I do every week. I accomplished that much.

The fact is, I didn't even try. Some days you just need to take a day off. I work a full time job, then I hit things hard on the weekends. I limited myself to a little bit of blog work, like assembling the next Lisa Burton Radio, and that's it. I also scheduled my next Story Empire post about Flipboard.

I'm embarrassed to admit that I'm recording The Walking Dead. In the interest of preserving my marriage, we are watching the Grammys. Which marketing genius on either side made sure both shows competed with each other?

In other news, Larissa Takahasi followed me again today. Maybe she'll actually say hi one day.

Things have gotten busy at the paycheck job lately. I have some presentions to make in the next few weeks, and one of them could be to over a hundred people. I'm ready for them, but I have to write the material for another one due in May. I suppose, just because I'm not writing fiction, doesn't mean I'm not writing.

Looking forward to completing the drafts of The Yak Guy Project, and The Enhanced League. They're both very close, but I'm not going to force either of them.

So it's back to the paycheck job for me. My floating day off is Wednesday, and those are usually pretty productive. I still might not finish anything, but I'll bet I get closer.

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Writing isn’t all about word count

As of today, I haven't written one new word on a short story, micro-fiction, or The Yak Guy Project since last Monday. I want to, but writing has additional obligations these days.

If I don't promote myself, nobody else will either. This means sticking a toe into new things and expanding my reach. I spent a considerable amount of time getting into Facebook. This includes months of waiting for the artwork to make it perfect. I used the waiting time to piece together the Warhol/Harrington on yesterday's blog post. This sort of thing takes me forever, because I'm not talented that way.

As a result, both the Entertaining Stories, and Lisa Burton Facebook pages were well received. Friends offered me some suggestions about groups, and I'll get there too. Right now, I'm making and accepting friend requests, answering questions, that kind of thing. It's new (to me) and there is a learning curve.

In addition, I used a cool app called PhotoFunia to manipulate some pictures into fun frames and situations. I used these to post the Facebook sites on Twitter. My favorite involved Lisa on the cover of Vogue magazine. Cheesy? Sure, but it catches the eye in the tornado of information on Twitter, and maybe someone will visit the sites.

Several friends invited their social circles to visit the new sites, and I am eternally grateful for you guys.

While all of this was happening, I also exchanged ideas for the cover of The Playground. It seems minimal, and on a writing day it usually is. It might even wait, but there is a danger to putting stuff off too.

Right after I pushed all the buttons yesterday, I made sourdough bread. This one is an oatmeal honey whole wheat bread. I have this cool chokecherry honey I used. It may, or may not, involve chokecherry pollen, but there is a bit of chokecherry juice stirred into it. It even separates and requires stirring. It sounds strange, but it's wonderful. I set the dough out to raise before checking on social media again.

Sourdough usually takes a long time to raise, and I expected to bake it Sunday. I wound up baking it today, and had some for lunch. It turned out amazing. I think the yeast has a thing for chokecherry honey, and that's why it was faster.

We went to the 12, now 13 year old granddaughter's birthday last night. She had friends over for a slumber party, so we took the little ones home for the night. They were pretty crazy after cupcakes and pizza, and you can imagine it wasn't a perfect writing environment. This morning was calmer, but it's hard to write over the top of Ninja Turtles cartoons.

I managed to box up the first 3000 words of The Yak Guy Project and send them to my critique group. It's always nerve wracking showing them something new, but it's one of the best training grounds I have access too.

Tonight is date night, and tomorrow I dedicate my mornings to my parents. All of these people are important to me, and I can't be a writer every minute away from the paycheck job.

I consider it a very successful weekend, and I may snitch a bit of time tomorrow. My wife has to work, and there is still a possibility of some new words. The Facebook pages are live after months of planning. I managed to ship out my critique submission, and worked Twitter regarding my Facebook project. I also updated this blog twice, and will probably post again tomorrow.

There is writing, and then there is writing. This weekend I expanded my footprint, and that's progressive.

I did all of this while still hanging out with my grandchildren, having date night, and will spend some telephone time with my parents tomorrow. I may even have some sourdough toast for breakfast.

How do you guys feel about it? Does anything beyond new words count as writing to you? It has to count that way for me.

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Beyond the book release, and an artist invitation

Well, kind of. You've seen the reblogs and are probably all aware of my new release. I'm trying to reblog those posts with reviews, or where I wrote part of them. I'm also trying to surf back through the cover reveals and participate in comments.

Sales are still in double digits, and I would like to break 100 before Amazon delivers. The rumor is the pre-sales all count on the day Amazon delivers. More pre-sales equals a higher ranking, and can lead to more sales.

I've been answering a ton of emails, and writing some requested stuff for others.

My wife and I went to pizza and beer last night. Life still goes on outside of work and writing. Had a great pumpkin beer on tap. Forgot to write down the name though, so I can't share it with you.

Had a lovely conversation with my parents today. It's a Sunday thing I insist upon. I missed last week, because I was driving back from the coast.

I finished my critique work this afternoon, and loaded them in my truck. This is a habit I developed years ago, because I tend to forget things. Nothing like showing up for critique group and not having your stuff.

I even managed to write another Macabre Macaroni story today. I may be able to pull this off after all.

I publicly debated not doing Macabe Macaroni this year. Commenters encouraged me to post my micro-fiction again. If I post one story every Tuesday, I only need four. I now have enough stories.

You know how doubt works though. There is always one story you know is awesome. Likewise, there is always one you worry about. Last year my awesome story ranked right in the middle and surprised me. The one I worried about was my most popular one.

When I sent out ARCs of The Experimental Notebook, there was one story I worried about. Two different advance readers chose it as their favorite. I feel the same way about my stories for this year. It will be interesting to see what everyone likes.

On to the challenge. Since I'm doing Macabre Macaroni again, I think it deserves some artwork. Those of you so inclined can send your pieces to: Coldhand (dot) Boyack (at) gmail (dot) com. If I get one, I'll post it with all the stories. If I get enough, I'll do one per post. If I get too many, I'll figure out how to do a seperate artwork post. I'll give the artists a nod of course, so include your contact information. Maybe I can drive you some blog traffic or clients.

So come on you artists out there. Your theme is Macabre Macaroni. If you want to glue macaroni to a board and photograph it, that's cool. Maybe you have some creepy idea to actually cook up and photograph. Maybe some of you can paint something involving a casserole dish and body parts. Use your imaginations, as long as it involves both words “Macabre Macaroni” it's good.

I can't wait to see what you come up with.

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Trying not to be a writer

I’ve mentioned before that I’m trying to tone things down during the summer months. My writing pursuits can wait until winter for all I care. I just want a good outline when I start.

To that end, I’ve been dabbling in related projects. None of them are really serious.

I called my parents, like I do every Sunday. We talked for about an hour and a half. No real topic, but the killer hawk is defending its nest in Mom’s front yard again. I told her she should start carrying a salmon net. Maybe she can train it to leave her alone.

When we finished, I added some cards to the remaining outlines I didn’t work on the other day. I’m considering a gender swap for one of my characters. Maybe “she would do anything to save her man” has better punch than the other way around. They’re still the bad guys, and I need to manipulate the fealty readers will have for them. It still doesn’t feel quite right.

The whole time I was doing this, I felt like I was being watched. Something made my senses tingle, but I was just being silly.

Maybe my new blood pressure medicine has something to do with it. Like I said, I’m not taking things seriously this summer. I spent some time throwing my virtual goat out of a catapult.

Good air on this throw

My daughter got up and decided to make us some breakfast. She got scared by a large spider in the kitchen. Maybe not a big deal, but it was the morning for creepy stuff. Breakfast was good. Egg burrito with chipotle sauce.

We talked for about 45 minutes before she had to go upstairs and start getting ready for work. I went back to another project. I plodded through two chapters of an old book and corrected a couple of typos.

My Spidey senses tingled once more. I turned in my chair so my back was to the wall.

My daughter leaned over the stair rail. “Holy crap! What is that?”

I leaped up and looked out back.

I want your nuts.

My nuts are just fine where they are, thank you very much. I think even the old pit bull could have caught this one. He was asleep beside the air conditioner duct, and we gave this squirrel a pass.

Not a lot of writing related projects today, but some. I need to clean up the sauerkraut crock before it’s cabbage season once again. I also need to deadhead some roses. Maybe I’ll do that this afternoon. I’m keeping an eye on my nuts though.

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