Tag Archives: peaches

My off day

Today was kind of a surprise, but has been known since the weekend. My wife is off, and that makes writing impossible. I moved one big chore to today so I could recover tomorrow as a writing day.

I spent quite a bit of my morning on various social media sites, because there was no good reason not to. I find myself avoiding Twitter on my off days, and this held true today. I put most of my Twitter effort into supporting others, so I tweeted out those blogs I read. I’ll get back to tweeting out your pinned tweets later this week.

I waited until about ten o’clock to head for the dump. First I salvaged the few high peaches the birds didn’t get to, and put my ladder away. The season is over, but these late peaches are the best ones I’ve ever grown. I’ve been snacking on them morning noon and night. I’ll miss them until next year.

The dump has evolved since I was a kid. In my hometown you could go to the dump whenever you wanted and it didn’t cost a thing. This included the middle of the night if that’s the time you had available. Today they have business hours and they charge.

There is the pay booth, then you have to stop again for some kind of traffic director guy. He had a problem because I had branches and grass. They want to mulch the branches, but can’t do it if there is grass worked in. I finally convinced him it was one single bag of grass and I could easily place it aside. He directed me to unload my branches, but I had to put the bag of clippings in a different place. (Dude, I’m sorry I didn’t bring two trucks so one included only a single bag of clippings.)

Finally, he handed me a green safety vest and let me in. (I’d already paid, so I didn’t think he would send me home for a second truck.) Since when do we have to wear a safety fest to unload garbage???

The load was nasty and slimy, because the remaining peach parts were rotting now. I got wet, I got slimed, and there is some kind of ooze in my truck bed now. However, it’s done. I don’t have to deal with it tomorrow, and there are no clouds on my Wednesday horizon.

I did make some baby steps on the formatting front for Viral Blues. These involved an exchange of emails to address some minor issues. It had to get done, and this kept it off my Wednesday schedule, so bonus.

Many of you were interested in my zucchini grown in a pot. This old pot has grown petunias out front for over ten years. When the idea occurred to me, I dumped the tired remaining soil in the flower bed and raked it smooth. I bought a big bag of potting soil, cleaned some doggie debris from the back yard for the bottom of the pot, then added the potting soil. When the roots reach the bottom, they’ll get a dose of high-powered fertilizer when they likely need it.

The pot is on the back patio now. I selected a bush variety to avoid vines going everywhere. Most of those don’t produce as much, but let’s face it, zucchini tend to produce more than you want anyway.

The whole project is about four feet tall now, and may get a little bigger as summer goes on. My wife is talking about some stuffed squash blossoms for supper very soon.

Attempting to write tomorrow, then it’s back to work for the rest of the week.

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Make a plan, work the plan

This post poses a conundrum for me, because it could fit into Story Empire, too. It winds up here, because it’s partially about my vacation plans. This one is another stay-cation for me. I want to write and just get some down time.

I’ve gotten to a place in writing where I can get a lot done, and there are a few tricks involved. These take time to farm, but harvesting them really speeds things up. First, I have about six storyboards going at all times. This doesn’t leave me pondering what I might write next. This is a common problem among fiction writers. Think of this like a farm, because it’s a long term project. Some boards are complete, others are partially complete, and some are just a collection of loose notes on index cards. Whenever a decent idea hits me, I make an index card and add it to the appropriate board. (Or start a new one.) Today, when I finish one project, I can dive right into the next one.

Next is my Pinterest app. I don’t know too many authors who use Pinterest, because all of the focus is on promotion. I don’t tend to use it like that. I have character boards, setting boards, and more specific ones like Pirates, or The Hat. When I surf through them, I get a lot of inspiration for my stories. It’s nice to refer to when describing a visual aspect of a tale.

Third is my new concept of more than one story at a time. I’m learning that it’s possible, and super productive. My current theory is to make them very different stories. Character traits don’t seem to bleed over this way, and character arcs don’t get muddled because the stories are so different.

My vacation starts tomorrow, and won’t return me to the office until next Thursday. Now I need some kind of plan.

  • I need to cut down a significant portion of my peach tree. This isn’t productive on the writing front, but works well on the staying married front.
  • Hauling the tree residue away has to be part of this mix, and is a chore in itself.
  • I need to buy and read one book. This one is a short read, and ought to work well for me. Then there are reviews to post on multiple fronts, too. Copy and paste helps here.
  • HMS Lanternfish hasn’t even set sail yet. It’s time to stock her with pirates and supplies, then hit the open sea. I’d love to get 30,000 words down, but 20K might be more realistic.
  • I need to get some blog posts written for The Viral Blues. It will be release time before I know it, and I want to be ready. Might hit up some of my favorite hosts to check their availability during my break, too.
  • There is a loose plan for some group promo at Story Empire. I need to dedicate some thought to that, and see what kind of posts I might need.
  • I have the formatted manuscript for Viral Blues in hand. I need to check it on every program I have. Stories about Lizzie and the hat have a few silly graphics as part of the shtick. These can be a nightmare formatting wise. Again, I want to be ready. I won’t know for sure until I push it through Amazon’s machinery, but any errors I can identify now will make that part easier.
  • Blurb writing. (La la la. I can’t hear you.)

I’m probably leaving stuff out, but that’s how it goes sometimes. I’m hoping to take full advantage of the Halloween season for Viral Blues. I’m still waiting on a couple of Lisa Burton promo posters, and should have the last ones in time. This means the easy link for The Yak Guy Project will be replaced by one for Viral Blues. If you haven’t read Yak Guy, all you have to do is click that cover image in the sidebar. He’ll live forever on Amazon, but you’ll have to go looking for him.

I’m still considering a pre-release for Viral Blues. My results with these have been mixed. What is the current consensus with you guys? Do pre-release books gain your attention, or just annoy you?

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Running water, no hospital required

We did a few events around here yesterday. I dreaded changing out the kitchen faucet, and have done it one other time. Our old one started leaking inside the fixture and simply gave out on us.

Saturday found me outside squeezing peaches. They were about perfect, and I earmarked part of Sunday to pick a bunch of them. Oddly enough, Frankie woke up in the middle of the night and had to make a security patrol. I chocked it up to doggie strangeness and we went back to bed.

In the morning, I discovered the problem. The tree broke. I’ve seen this happen to other peaches, but never had this problem. I guess the wheel just went around for me. We decided to leave it as is while we tackled the sink first. (12 hours. I only needed 12 more hours.)

The nightmare part of the sink project was getting the old faucet off. It has a nut that needed to come off and it was waaaay up there between the basins of the sink. I tried about ten different tools, and none of them fit. The best I could manage was a pair of pliers, but that required me to twist like it was a bottle cap. I couldn’t use any leverage, which is the advantage of a wrench.

It failed. I sent Old What’s Her Face to search the toolbox. I have a roll of old open end/box end wrenches. This isn’t what they are for, but one fit, and the handle left room between the basins to move it about an eighth of an inch.

It took me about ten resets to move the nut one revolution. Keep in mind, this is inside the cabinet, on my back (Which I feared for) and at the limits of what my short arms could reach. It took a long time, but I prevailed. Once it was loose, it easily spun off then hit me in the head.

The new one was a piece of cake. My wife put the fitting together while I grabbed coffee. She crawled inside and put the mounting nuts on, which were designed to be finger twist tight. Whoever designed this one deserves an award of some kind.

After coffee, I connected all the water lines and installed the gun. This unit has one of those pull out hoses for squirting off dishes or filling pots. What do you think? No hospital required.

We took a break, then tackled the peach tree. We managed about three baskets of fruit from the broken part before giving up. It was 90 something degrees outside. There are a lot more peaches on other parts, and I hope they don’t decide to break off too. I won’t get another chance at them until Friday.

We’ve always picked a basket here and there, but I feel like I’m pressing my luck. Probably based upon what already happened. The poor old tree is in for a major trim, the kind you give with a chainsaw, now. I really like this tree, but if this is the end of it, so be it. No matter what I do, it’s going to be ugly, but it could fill back out next year.

My back is surprisingly okay today. My neck and shoulders are kind of stiff, but that’s easily overcome.

Time for a peach, possibly in a daiquiri.

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Ugh!

Today was my flex day. This is usually the time I can get my word count up, but it just didn’t work out that way. Most of this is a personality flaw, and I readily admit that.

My errand for the day was to go to the bank and make a deposit. I got up at 5:00, and the bank opens at 9:00. What do you think I did for all that time in between? Nothing even remotely productive. Nada, zero.

I checked email, social media, read some blogs. Never even tried to write. See, I have to multi-task at my paycheck job. On my time, I’m damned well going to have things my way. I’d rather fail completely than have an interruption during the process. There probably aren’t many of you who understand, but that’s who I am. I could have hacked out a couple thousand words in that time, but I’m not exactly hurting for word count in 2019. If I don’t write another word all year, it’s already a record year for me.

When I got home, I sent off everything to my formatter. My goal is to have everything perfect for a mid September release of Viral Blues. Sean is still working on some promotional posters, and it’s looking pretty good timing wise.

If I’m ready early, I might even consider a pre-order situation. I’ve done them in the past with mixed results. Does anyone have any current data on whether they provide an advantage? Amazon is a moving target, and what worked yesterday might not work today.

After I took care of all that, did I write? Nope. Because I’ve already burned a major portion of the day, and what remained wasn’t worth it to me.

Sadly, the way the flex schedule works is that my day next week is Friday. That’s a long stretch between days, and I’ll have to lament this lost day for two weeks now.

I spent some time on Pinterest, and got one of those weird suggestions that turns into a rabbit trail. It’s called Bad Taxidermy. Nobody else will probably understand, but I laughed so hard tears flowed down my cheeks. Frankie the bulldog jumped in my lap and was worried for me. She probably should be, but not because I was in distress. I won’t share any images here, first because you might not be as strange as I am, and second because they are someone else’s property.

Back to work tomorrow, where I will probably be multi-tasking, but they pay me do to so.

Right now, I have a hankering for a fresh peach, but it will probably be another day or two. These never seem to be ready on my day off either.

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Life takes precedence

I never even opened my manuscript today. Not one new word, or bit of editing. My wife and I were both off and decided to dedicate ourselves to other things, like each other.

The day started off with peach waffles.

Fresh from the backyard, these were awesome. There is a waffle in a baggie, and a few more spoonfuls of peaches in the refrigerator. I might do this again tomorrow.

It’s getting to where finding a good peach on the tree is a challenge. The birds are having a field day back there right now. There are probably about ten bushel baskets left on the tree. It grows enough for all of us, and I’m about finished with peaches for this year.

We had to get my wife’s car serviced today, so we spent an hour at the dealership. Service is free there, and free is important to us right now.

After that, we went to Old Chicago for pizza, and I had beer. There were a few stops on the way home to get Otto a new ball, and my wife some lemon cucumbers.

I pulled an odd stunt today. My out and about glasses are bifocals, and they darken in the sun. I elected to leave them home in favor of the progressives. All the material says you have to wear the progressives, or you’re never going to get used to them.

I would have liked to have the shades, but I’m determined to get used to these odd lenses. It’s working out really well. They have a distance correction, and that’s very clear. So far so good.

Drinking a couple of heavy dark beers, then heading out to 100 degree bright sunlight, was pretty strange. The peripheral vision on these things is dismal at best. Everything moves in an unreal fashion off to the sides. I may, or may not have said something to my wife about how her jelly was jiggling.

Honestly, I’m getting along well with the progressives, but there is a reason I have the other glasses too.

It’s looking like new fiction over the coming weekend is on thin ice. I only have two days this time, and we’re both off together. This story has no deadlines, so I’m not going to let it bother me.

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Fair enough, I’ll take it

The dogs drove me nuts last night. I pulled some light clothes on and went to sleep on the couch. Something about scratchy Frankie paws on my neck, and about 60 pounds of Otto on my leg wasn’t working for me.

Old What’s Her Face got me up when she went to work at 3:00 AM. She suggested I try again, since she wouldn’t be in the bed at the same time. I was in a pouty mood and intended to just get up and get started, but I gave it the old college try.

I still had to nudge Otto off of me, but managed to sleep until 6:00.

I spent the first two hours puttering on things. This is my normal process, but I dragged my feet, because I call my parents at 8:00.

After the phone call, I decided to give it a try. I wound up making some decent progress. It feels like 1500 to 1800 words. Not bad at all for a Sunday. This was a transition phase, and those are slower to write.

My pirates sailed to the uncharted island, and are now prepared to go ashore. I put some effort into approaching the island through a thick fog, and the dangers that might present. There was a shipwreck, some big lizards that we’ve seen before, and something I called a black shark from out of the blue.

I expect this island to take up some time in the story. There are several things that have to happen. I’m debating making it a place that is in constant fog, and letting my pirates see bits and pieces of it. To my mind, it keeps it kind of mysterious, and will let readers know this is a big world.

There are people here, and there will be monsters. I stopped when I did so I could daydream about some of it with more specificity than before.

For those who are keeping score, I’m at 81,600 words. I’d like to hit 100K, and it feels like I can. That’s long for me, but this is an epic fantasy. It may not be formal fantasy, it’s a kind of flintlock fantasy, but fantasy just the same.

I picked yet another basket of peaches this afternoon. Peach waffles tomorrow morning for sure.

I’m off tomorrow, but so is my wife. This usually isn’t the sign for a good writing day, but we’re going to have a date lunch out of the deal. We ought to be able to get in to Old Chicago and have pizza without the long lines and waits.

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Love Wednesday Flex Days

I dabbled early this morning. Ate some peaches, checked some social media. Then I reread my last chapter. Turns out there were some ‘its’ and ‘they’re’ errors to fix. Not to fear, these are on my word search before I ship it out to beta readers.

It was a weird writing day. I wrote a bit, did other things, wrote a bit more. It still came out to around 3000 words. This is a simple chore for the pirates, but there are some game changing things going on. Most of this will come in the form of news they haven’t received yet.

I just need to figure out what that is… A war is either starting or about to start. Things aren’t going to be as simple as sailing about and accomplishing goals. There is a new threat on the seas. The enemy has stripped their ships so they can refit the guns for land war. This turned out kind of handy, but there comes a time when the ships will be refitted.

My captain revealed some philosophy about warfare that he learned from his father. This turned into a fair bit of dialog with his best friend.

I did not force the readers to live through the monster encounter, but let the root monsters relay it instead. Old Hogar, the monster turned out to be a bear. I’m kind of happy with the back and forth about his size. The description of ‘about as tall as you are at the shoulder… if you were sitting atop a horse,’ came out well. I actually recycled it from one of my trunk novels.

Bears don’t actually get that big, but in fantasy they do.

Note to self: Probably need an excerpt of a root monster story for promotion purposes.

My outline is fast disappearing. I’m down to one major stop, some minor events, and a big finale. Then I have to concoct a denouement of some kind.

I only stopped because I need time to think about a meeting they’re going to with a semi-friendly military man. They’re all on the same side, but pirates aren’t generally the type you make allegiances with.

Thinking through this section will only make it better. I can come up with some minor tension that will still let the big events happen.

78,771 words and counting… or was that the number of peaches I ate this week?

Back to work tomorrow. That will give me four commutes with my Muse to work things out.

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