Tag Archives: Pets

My flex day

I started off kind of slow today. Got a chance to sleep in and I took it. This means I was probably less productive than I could have been, but I’m ahead of the game right now.

Let’s face it, I could publish another Hat story tomorrow. It’s a cool position to be in, and I’d like to sustain it for a while. Less pressure is nice for a change.

I still managed to break the 80K word mark on my WIP. That makes it a novel in my mind. I’m going to ignore the old rules about making science fiction a bit longer. These are going to be geared more to a modern audience, and since it’s a trilogy, there will be more of the galaxy to cover.

Percy the Space Chimp has one more big event in this book, then it’s finished. I left them hanging out at their favorite backwater planet and can pick the story back up this weekend.

Jackson the cat decided to help me today. He seems to want to sleep either in my lap or on my keyboard. I think he’s uber-cute, but I could use a break once in a while.

Jackson will be going away soon. Our daughter finally found an apartment she can afford. It’s in a different city than her job, so she’s got a long commute ahead of her from now on. I weep for the plight of our young people. America doesn’t pay enough for them to make ends meet today, and rentals are so expensive now. Still, she gets to keep the job that she loves, and that makes me happy. I’ll miss having her around.

The blog tour for Good Liniment has finally ended. (I hear a small cheer across the universe.) It’s not enough to write a good story today. You have to do something to spread the word, and the word has been spread. We had some fun topics and every post was unique. Sold a few books, too, so that’s a bonus.

I’ve seen some reviews for both Good Liniment and Wreck of the Lanternfish lately. Remember, those are both still linked in my sidebar. Any author appreciates reviews, so if you read one of them I would be grateful for a few minutes of your time to share your thoughts.

Lanternfish needs to be read in order since it’s a trilogy. Good Liniment is a stand alone title in The Hat Series, and all of them can be read out of order.

In other news, I spent a couple hours reading a book I’m really enjoying, but it requires a lot of focus. It’s a good tale, so I’m sticking with it. It’s just hard to read in some sections.

I also managed to take a short nap this afternoon. This is something I’ve grown more insistent on whenever I’m off. They rarely surpass 30 minutes, but make me feel so good. Judge me if you want, but I kind of like them.

Back to work tomorrow.

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Ugh!

I had high hopes for today. It’s a Friday flex day and that’s usually when I make the pixels fly. Best laid plans, and all that.

Life has changed with our daughter moving home. I’ve never put her off just so I can write, and never will. When she wants to chat, I pull up stakes and try to be present in the moment. Fathers and daughters, what are you going to do?

Jackson, her cat is another matter. He was kind of hiding out and checking all the corners for a couple of days. He’s content now and quite friendly. He decided to camp in my lap, which doesn’t make for good word count. He’s so cute, I couldn’t say no.

Frankie decided she was jealous and had to get up here, too.

Now they’ve moved on, and Otto is up here with me. He’s a veteran and sits off to the side, so I can at least type. Thus, the reason why I’m blogging. Even though he’s one big hunk of bulldog.

I won’t complain too loud. I could have gone in the other room, but I enjoy the company to a degree. I might have to do that tomorrow or the next day. Depends on how the conversations go.

Grand total of about one page before I gave up completely. I know it’s one more page than I had before, and have often shared that thought with others. In my case, as a weekend warrior, it can also be looked at as one page this week. That doesn’t make it look all that special.

Still, daughters, bulldogs, and kitties have value, too. There will be hours somewhere, so I’m going to enjoy the other things for now.

I’m trying to limit my blog tour to twice per week, and I’ve shared here as they post. I have new content out there if you’re following along. I’ve moved some books and the first couple of posts were quite successful. I hope it holds up in the coming weeks.

Talk to you later. Maybe I’ll have some decent word metrics tomorrow.

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That was unexpected

Let’s start with the good stuff and updates. I’m seeing some sales for Good Liniment, and I hope everyone is enjoying it. There are even some pages read for Wreck of the Lanternfish. Glad I figured out it wasn’t on Kindle Unlimited. Probably cost me some sales, but it works now.

Whatever disgusting plague I had seems to be over now. I ate the equivalent of one meal over a period of a week, just so I could get up every morning to see how I felt before calling in sick. On Friday, I made it to work, but didn’t accomplish much beyond the backlog of crap. Forge ahead on Monday.

I even skipped my corned beef in exchange for two of the golf ball sized red potatoes that are part of the meal. Once I got home Friday night, I remedied that. Rumor is corned beef hash for breakfast tomorrow.

I spent a little time updating my blog. The new cover is linked in the sidebar now. I finally got it onto Goodreads, too. Just all those fiddly things that have to get finished.

I even managed to spend some time with Percy the Space Chimp today. I didn’t keep track, but it was slow going. No more than 1000 words or so. Finished a chapter at least.

That was when it was time to address the new problems. Roommate issues in Sun Valley caused our daughter to take a leave of absence, then move back to Boise. We rented her a U-Haul, then spent the afternoon unloading it here and lugging things upstairs. I also have some of her crap in my office, which is going to get more use with more people here. I left myself a path to my chair and put my headphones on charge. I’m having water now, and a preemptive Aleve.

I’ve been calendaring and sending out blog tour posts sporadically. I can only keep up with about two per week. My days of hitting multiple sites per day, or five days per week are over. I’ll keep pecking away at that, but I have all my volunteers lined up.

Our daughter’s plan is to look for a place back in her area and keep her job. Real estate in Sun Valley is ridiculous, so that dream might die hard. Fingers crossed for her, but there are a lot of jobs around here that pay as much or more than she currently makes. Some of them are even at our airport.

Jackson the cat is back, and I kind of like him.

Tomorrow is likely to be busy and noisy around here, so I don’t think much more will get done on the author front. Hope all of you have having fun somewhere, or being productive as you choose.

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Question for the masses

If there were a book that looked a whole lot like this, would you read it?

The Hat Series, Lizzie and the hat

I mention this, because it’s probably coming next week. Lizzie and the hat are chasing a new monster for them. Werewolves are tragic, and Lizzie has a problem with this. The human part of the monster has no idea what happens a couple of nights per month.

I’ll probably pull the trigger on Sunday night. Weekends aren’t the best time to publish, but they’re all I have so I’m making due. I’ll spend the weekend getting blog tour posts ready, then hit some of you up to host me if you’re game. I already have a bunch of offers.

Early sales are important, so I’d appreciate it if you’d consider that. You can read it this fall if you like, but Amazon takes those early sales into account. Also, Otto needs a new ball if you know what I mean.

Watch this space for more information. I’ll update the side bar and such with the new book and link once I have it. I’ll make every tour stop unique, so they’ll be worth reading. I can also reblog to support my hosts without sharing the same material every time.

So yay! Cover reveal! New book coming, and I’m excited to publish one this month before school lets out.

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Rambles from the real world

I get a three day weekend once more. This is the end of my fun shift, then I get a short weekend in the middle before it starts all over again. This weekend wasn’t earmarked for writing, but it could still happen. Monday is probably my best chance.

Our daughter came overnight, and I wanted to spend any available time with her. She didn’t get to come on her birthday, so Old What’s Her Face wanted to take her out. Even this wound up being a compromise. She had to go home this afternoon to work Sunday.

When you write a series about a twenty-something female, it’s nice to compare notes with my daughter. She helps with some of Lizzie’s outfits, and knows some things I wouldn’t even think of. I’m good with monsters, freaky things, and even old-school music. When it comes to wrap dresses, nail art, and some of those things I appreciate the help.

We settled for lunch at The Cheesecake Factory. We’re both so full, it will serve as dinner and lunch. Still ordered dessert to go, so that will suffice this evening. I had mine early, maybe I won’t have heartburn all night by doing that.

Saw a cool whale-tale Porsche in the mall parking lot. This one had custom paint. It was pink, but so dark it was nearly purple. Doesn’t mean anything, really, I just thought it was cool. It was obviously well loved.

Came home and caught the Derby. There might have been some future book research involved, but not to the extent that I failed to enjoy the event. He never stood a chance, but I liked the name of one horse, Soup & Sandwich. He actually started strong, but finished dead last. He was also a pretty blue roan. Also, lots of pretty girls in hats. That could play into a future story after I give it some thought.

As far as accomplishing anything, after our daughter left, I wrote one blog tour post. This one involves Lisa visiting someone and handing out a poster. I don’t have the poster yet, but feel like I am a step ahead. I don’t even have a blurb yet, so I’ll have to tag that onto any posts I get written after the fact.

We had an awesome thunderstorm this afternoon. Lots of lightning and a downpour the likes of something we haven’t seen in a year. The dogs were hilarious, running out in the rain to bark, then racing inside because it was raining so hard.

Sundays usually aren’t good writing days. I call my parents, mess with bulldogs and other important things. There should be time to pre-write more blog tour posts. That will be my goal.

When it comes to Monday, I’m off, will have the house to myself, might score some quality writing time then.

Hope all of you are having great weekends. I am.

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The big squirrel festival

I had two goals today, and those didn’t have a lot of parameters. I wanted to go back over my existing work with a fine toothed comb, and I wanted to add some small amount of new words to Lanternfish.

What I didn’t plan on was the big squirrel festival in the back yard. This started off with one squirrel running down the fence then staring inside at the dogs as he waited.

That’s enough to make Frankie blow a gasket, so she had to chase him off. Another squirrel showed up, and the neighbor dog chased it away. The sound of her made Frankie have to go out and play, then they chased each other up and down the fence. I suppose the squirrels watched this part from the treetops.

Between bouts of this, more squirrels showed up, and we repeated the process all over again. Sometimes two of them at once.

Otto doesn’t care much anymore. This usually happens when a younger dog takes up the challenge, and Frankie is the younger of the two.

Somewhere in the middle of that, I managed to work through one chapter of Lunar Boogie, and one Chapter of Lanternfish. I still assume they suck, but I did what I could.

I also managed to add 1000 words to Lanternfish; not my most productive day. Even then, I resorted to root monster antics because they usually flow pretty fast.

There is a quiet and mysterious scene for Serang coming up. There will be some fantasy elements and a discovery involved. I just have to finish a chapter on the open sea before I can take that on.

I’ll try to dabble a bit more today, but right now I have to get up and let Frankie out. It seems there is a squirrel in the back yard.

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Not the day I planned

I woke up to about eight inches of snow today. Nothing I haven’t seen before, but there were sidewalks and the driveway to deal with.

Old What’s Her Face has permanent dibs on the good snow shovel. It’s one of those push shovels that works like a snowplow. That leaves me with an old square concrete shovel that won’t empty because the snow sticks in it.

I did the sidewalks while she worked over the driveway. At the end, everything got finished, but my shoulder hurts for some reason.

On the bright side, Frankie loves the snow. She likes to stick her head under it, then wander around bind until she runs into a tree or something. Then she rolls over and wriggles her way for a yard or two. This is the same dog that hates the rain, but she seems to love this.

I laughed so much that I forgot to take a picture. Some blogger I am.

I intended to write, and did to a small degree. Mostly, I worked up a chapter for my critique group and sent it off. I also worked over a section for one of the other group members.

My writing involved more of a slice of life for Lizzie, but it seems to work. I’m right down to the end, so I need the next section to be creepy and scary. That’s one of the tricks to The Hat series. I need some humor, some slice of life, plus a bit of horror and intensity. Shifting back and forth has to feel right, but as the author, I need to get in the right frame of mind, too.

Eventually, I broke down and listened to some music. Maybe that will help. This kind of music:

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Business Plan 2021

It looks like that time again. I try to prepare a business plan for my writing career every January. These have been some of my most popular posts over the years, but that isn’t why I write them. I feel like everything is better with a little planning.

I’m sure this is no surprise, since I’ve posted both here and at Story Empire about my storyboarding method for plotting out my stories.

Mostly, I write these to keep myself honest. I refer back to them throughout the year to see how I’m doing. Let’s dive into it.

A few years ago, I decided my best promotional move was to write my next book. I’ve gotten discouraged with advertising that fails to produce, social media that sucks time, but doesn’t seem to do much else, so I write.

Honestly, it seems to be working. I can’t explain it exactly, but if someone were to pull up my Amazon page, it appears that I’m somewhat seasoned and in it for the long haul. Perhaps people are more willing to take a chance on me more than someone who only has one book. No idea, but it makes some sense.

It’s not that readers pick up everything I write. If someone likes paranormal tales, I have a few. Same thing for science fiction and fantasy. Some are like me and read all those genres, but I can appeal to the specialists now, too.

For the last two years, I’ve published three books per year. It’s kind of a grueling pace, but it was worth it.

This year, my goal is two publications. I want to complete my Lanternfish trilogy and get it out the door. I’ve already started on the final volume, but it’s been slow going. Too many holidays and not enough quality time.

The other book I’m working on is a continuation of The Hat series. Since this is an ongoing series, I don’t feel as much pressure as I do with Lanternfish. I have a couple of storyboards for volumes beyond the one I’m writing, and a few solid ideas with notes started.

Last year, a couple of things changed for me, and forced me to make a decision. My cover art and Lisa Burton promotional pieces took much longer than I was used to. I kind of overwhelmed my critique group, too. My choices were to start another project while I waited to publish the completed ones, or take a break. I took a break.

I know this doesn’t seem like me, but I needed it and I imagine my critique partners appreciated the few months off, too. I didn’t exactly kick back during this time. I spent it getting ready for two extensive blog tours. I make all my promo stops unique, so writing ahead was a good idea.

Timing of publications continues to vex me. I would like to hit one right before school lets out in the Spring, and the other around Halloween sometime. I’m not sure I’ve ever hit the Springtime target before, but have been moderately successful in the Fall.

By publishing two books instead of three, maybe that will simplify a few things. Maybe not, because Grinders in late Winter went off without a hitch.

I intend to use any spare time I have drafting something new. I don’t know what that will be yet, but I could go on the African adventure, maybe the post apocalyptic piece that’s set in the swamp, or something set in outer space. That last one seems to want to be a trilogy again.

The idea of another trilogy kind of drags me down, and excites me at the same time. For one thing, I could do things differently this time. I could hold the entire thing back while I finish it, then go for quicker releases after it’s finished. This would make it my side project for a couple of years.

Lanternfish was only intended to be a stand-alone story. Comments and feedback convinced me to turn it into a trilogy. With one already on Amazon, the others have to come along as they can.

I need to make some decisions on how to promote Wreck of the Lanternfish. I could promote the book, the whole series, or a bit of both. I could go on two different blog tours; one for the book, then months later for the whole trilogy.

I might be able to use some discount days or free days to promote with, too. James is clearly the main character, but Serang has become a co-main character along the way. Her origin story has never been on sale and walks readers into the trilogy. I could do something similar with Voyage of the Lanternfish, or both.

Promotion is like dowsing to me. I’m open to suggestions here, so don’t be afraid to speak up.

Last year, my blogging goal was to post two to three times per week. This came after years of posting four times per week, because Lisa Burton Radio was always on Thursdays. With retirement of Lisa’s show, it should have been easy to meet. I failed completely.

This is the one thing I will blame on Covid. Many of my posts are a slice of life. With all the lockdowns, working from home, and all the rest, there wasn’t much life to share. I’ve been lucky to make a weekend post for the last few months. I don’t know if this will change, so I’m not setting a goal here. I will keep updating Entertaining Stories, and meet my Story Empire assignments. Anything beyond that will have to be an extra.

Then there is social media. During my summer break, I kind of bailed on it. It never really has produced anything for me, and I spent some time changing out my pinned tweets and all the rest. I changed it almost weekly when I promoted the Experimental Notebooks. My blog automatically feeds to most of them, and I still share all of your things when I can. I just stopped actively participating.

Prior to my break, I used to go through my feed and retweet all of your posts, share the bigger things on Facebook, etc. Now it’s mostly posts from your blogs.

Older rules were that we had to be active on social media, because that’s where readers find us. It made perfect sense, but I never really saw it function in real-time. Interest in blogs seems to be slowing down, too, but it’s about all I have left. It also seems to be the only thing that will sell books from time to time, so I’m all-in here.

My goals aren’t as severe this year. Two publications that I already have partial manuscripts for. Keep the blogs up, and dabble in social media. Spend any spare time drafting something new.

Weigh in today. Teach me your promotional tricks. Do you prepare a business plan every year, or is that just me?

They say all posts perform better with a picture, so here you go. Frankie likes to help Mom make the bed, particularly when the bedding is warm from the dryer.

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Happy Thanksgiving

My wife has cleared quarantine. I, on the other hand, am being required to quarantine for two more weeks by my workplace. She actually had the virus and gets to return to work sooner.

Since everything seems to be clear here, our daughter came for Thanksgiving. Jackson came with her.

He’s about three years old now, and isn’t very big. Maybe my mom always had big cats. Not sure. Anyway, he’s pretty friendly and doesn’t put up with any crap from the dogs, so I kind of like him.

My daughter committed to giving me a haircut before she goes home, so I get that out of the deal.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving. For those of you outside the USA I hope you have a wonderful day whatever you do.

Lisa Burton said to make sure you save room for dessert.

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Time for some changes

There hasn’t been anything too interesting going on around here lately. With all the Covid concerns, we work, then we stay home on weekends. It’s been fairly boring, to tell you the truth. Some of this isn’t likely to change any time soon.

We watched a few Halloween movies yesterday, but there wasn’t anything all that exciting. Honestly, there’s just been too damned much television this year. After saying that, I did enjoy the new episode of The Mandalorian.

Old What’s Her Face decided we weren’t going to give out Halloween candy. So, of course, she ran to the store at the last minute, bought a huge bag of candy, and welcomed kids anyway. We didn’t get too many, but we wore masks.

All of my touring is over for 2020. (It’s okay to cheer or breathe a sigh of relief. I feel the same way to a degree.) I like interacting with everyone on blog tours, but it’s a lot of work to come up with unique posts and to keep checking them for days after the posting day. I hope I interacted with everyone who commented, or at least liked the comment if it was directed toward my hosts.

I love all of my hosts. There were many of them over the course of three publications this year. I tried to give some of you a rest and not hit you for every book. Some wanted me to show up anyway. Hopefully, everyone is happy. Remember, I’m here for you whenever I can return the favors.

I really want to start drafting new materials. That’s my happy place. I’m being a little resistant, because I could use a breather. Also, I don’t know that I need three releases next year.

First priority is going to be getting the Lanternfish trilogy wrapped up. Then I want another story for Lizzie and the hat. Anything after that will be gravy. Even if it only comes to a partial draft, that works too.

Beyond that, welcome to Standard Time for those places who still change. Idaho floated a bill to leave us on Standard Time year round, but it failed last year. I have a hunch it will be back. The time changes never bothered me. My body just knows when it’s time, and it feels right today.

They say all blog posts perform better with a picture, so here’s one of Otto rocking out.

Stay safe everyone. Blogging is socially distant, so it’s okay to leave comments.

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