Tag Archives: Pinterest

Back on the editing effort

I spent several hours this morning going over a chapter of one book before switching to another. I wound up with one chapter that required some serious rewording here and there. I’ll need to give this process another good shift, but I’m making some real progress.

The best sign involves Lizzie and the hat. These are short novels by design. I feel like their brand of humor works best in small doses. I completely finished this pass on their story. That leaves me to bounce back and forth between the other two books.

I still have additional passes I want to make, but this version is the hardest one and I’ll be happy to get it finished.

I really need to be thinking about cover art, but we’re constantly broke in this era. I’ll have to earmark funds to get that done. I’d like to publish “Once Upon a Time in the Swamp” sometime before summer. There have been a ton of releases lately and I know of more coming soon. Just have to jump in when I’m ready and let the fates decide.

I want to keep sharing some of my Pinterest boards with you. These are great references for me when looking for something for specific stories. This board is mostly just a bit of whimsy. I shared one of the big ones last time.

While there was a wagon like this waaaaay back in my book, Panama, I haven’t written anything like it since. This board makes me want to take a slow vacation somewhere, and maybe drag Stevie Nicks along for the ride. https://pin.it/1xzBVZw

Maybe you’ll find something to inspire one of your stories.

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A bit more work

I’m still editing. It’s mostly boring work, but I am seeing things that need repair. I find editing tedious, and that means it doesn’t make good blog fodder either. I’ll suffice to say all three manuscripts are up to chapter 11, then leave it there.

Today, I used my headphone with some YouTube playlists. I really like this option, but the advertisements are a nightmare. There are probably some without ads, but I haven’t been lucky enough to find them. I have one that’s instrumental blues, one that’s called samurai warrior music, and one I’ve been saving. It’s all the spaghetti western music by Ennio Morricone. I’m open to hints as to where I can find ad-free versions of long playlists. I don’t mind one up front, or even the occasional peppering. One (in the middle) of every song is too much.

One thing I never mention is that I research constantly. Some things make it to my storyboards, others are simply notes to tuck away.

I learned something about LIDAR. This is kind of like radar, but it’s been used to discover lost civilizations in the rain forest and other places. I have a story way in the future that will need this information.

I need a name for a group of celebrity ghost hunters. They’re going to be obstacles for Lizzie and the hat sometime this Spring. I’m having no luck, but the best I came up with is The Four Clairs. (Meaning Clairvoyance, clairaudience, clairsentience, and claircognizance.) I’m not thrilled with it, but might run with it.

Technetium is another discovery. It’s a radioactive, rare earth, material. I doubt it’s truly dangerous, but I can still write it that way. My idea involves aliens, and it’s way in the future. This one only has a sheet of notes. There isn’t even a storyboard yet, but I think there will be. I like the ideas I’m getting for this one.

I’ve also been looking up images of Alfred E. Neuman. It’s for a gag in one of the upcoming hat stories. Even some of the humor needs a bit of research.

Maybe this is one of my secrets. I have things developing all the time. Some of them will never get there. When I’m ready for a project, I usually have something pretty close to jump on.

I haven’t shared a Pinterest Board for a while, and some of you seem to enjoy them. I create these things for inspiration. Sometimes I return to them for ideas about creatures, settings, characters, and more. Not usually for main characters, but supporting things. Let’s go for one of the big ones today. This is my Fantasy Board https://pin.it/1JYU7Vm

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Ugh! Editing

I got to the writing cabin kind of late today. Old What’s Her Face and I usually have Sunday breakfast at home, and it’s one of my favorite parts of the week. Nothing too fancy, just really nice.

It’s also the day I call my Mother and I dedicated an hour to that.

Drafting new material is my favorite part of the job. I love the process of coming up with new characters and having them interact. Today, I had to grit my teeth and start editing.

I walked into the cabin’s living room which serves as the public-facing office.

A talking yak debated something with a talking hat. A retired leg-man was discussing the breakdown of modern society with a Chinese monk woman who carried a huge guandao.

Lisa Burton, the robot girl was in a dither trying to get root monsters down from the antler chandelier.

Percy, the Space Chimp pointed a hairy finger from across the room. “I got a bone to pick with you.”

I slammed the door, and returned to my vehicle. “Nope.”

I returned home and parked myself in a spare room we use for an office. The old Mac opened the AutoCrit website just fine, and I was able to upload my manuscript. However, it never highlighted a damned thing.

It feels great to produce a perfect draft, but I never have and something was wrong. I wanted to use my iPad to make the actual edits.

The site works perfectly on the iPad, and my dreams of a perfect MS were shot down.

I wound up using the split-screen feature and the iPad for everything. This isn’t particularly easy, because the text is so small in split screen. Clicking on AutoCrit’s suggestions is a little more touchy at this small size, too.

I admit to chickening out on the big stuff and worked on The Hat story because of its size. I managed to fix all of my typical mistakes. Mostly missing punctuation. I seem to miss a lot of question marks when I draft.

I have the free version of AutoCrit, so I don’t have all of its amazing features. Still helpful with spelling and punctuation. I had one word spelled wrong about five times. At least I was consistent.

That hat story moves into the TBR editing pile. I think I’ll take on the swamp story in the morning. I dread this stuff, but it must be done.

It’s been a while since I shared a Pinterest Board. This is a good one for all authors. Sometimes we all need location and setting. Check it out and let me know what you think https://pin.it/3ILyqyc

This one has markets, catacombs, a street of birdcages, public gardens and more.

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Blood everywhere today

I’ve been writing a little for the last four days. I haven’t really tried to keep a word count for a couple of days, but it’s substantial.

Today, Mari caught up with the people that murdered her entire family, and left her for dead back in the swamp. She’s been through hell getting to this point, so I didn’t spare the details of what it’s like.

There were seven men opposing her, but at least she got to deal with them in chunks. This section is gory, bloody, and painful.

I figure if she could hang in there for this, maybe readers were deserving a payoff, too. There is plenty of blood, shit, and snot to go around in this section.

Part of me is already thinking of toning it down, but I decided to write this post before I did something stupid. Even a month from now, if I figure it’s going to offend someone’s sensibilities I can make a change. No sense ruining it this afternoon.

I ended it with Mari surrendering to the local sheriff and looking forward to her hanging. The other side is where her family is now. I need to keep that mindset for tomorrow’s writing session.

I think it turned out well, but I have other things that need tending. I have some Story Empire posts to schedule, and I need to write out my business plan for next year.

Since slacking off for a couple of weeks we haven’t had a Pinterest board to check out. This is almost like a notebook for me. This one is tough for me to share. I call it The One I May Never Write. It’s been on my mind again, but I need something special to make it one of my stories. Witch doctors come to mind, but it still needs reasoning and thought behind it. Check it out and let me know what you think. https://pin.it/7zOWWN2

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Crisis of Confidence

I never got to write at all last weekend. We never had a drop of rain from May to October, and when we finally did, the skylights decided to leak.

This led to getting on a contractor’s list, and waiting our turn. The house is over twenty years old, so we decided to replace the roof and skylights rather than make repairs. It was time.

They started last Friday and had about six guys on the job. Two elected to work Saturday, but didn’t finish. It snowed Sunday, and that killed Monday. I had to take Tuesday off, because they needed inside. Somehow they’d lost one of the roof vents. I get it, they removed the part, slung the underlayment and lost track of it. That all got sorted out and the job was finished on Wednesday.

It snowed again Thursday, so I’m grateful, and the roof looks awesome.

I managed to add somewhere around a thousand words to my WIP, but my mind has other things going on.

I tried to fill this with a bit of storyboarding. I have one idea that’s going to require magic and artifacts and putting them in the right order to make a discovery. A storyboard is needed. My brain is still focused elsewhere.

I’m going to write about it here. Maybe it will get some of these thoughts out of my head. Maybe it will help me reach some conclusions.

I typically do a yearly wrap up post, followed by a new year business plan. It’s time to be thinking about this, but my thoughts aren’t good.

Both of my 2022 publications performed dismally. Reviews seem to be down, too, and I’m trying to draw some conclusions. Add a few of what I call drive-by one-star ratings, and I may never sell another copy again. You know the types, they never bought the book, never read it, but drop a one-star rating, because it amuses them. Amazon is so picky about reviews, and heaven help you if a family member gives you one, but some random stranger who never read the story gets to destroy your rating and they leave that up.

It’s hard to draw conclusions here. I was getting a majority of five-star reviews three years ago, but not now. I’ve either gotten worse at this, or I’ve worn out my welcome. Don’t know how else to take this.

It’s possible that people are sick of Lizzie and the hat. There are millions of choices out there, so I understand.

I listened to my first dramatic podcast recently. Something to fill the commute time with. It was pretty bad with pregnant pauses and poor dialog, but the story was so compelling I’m going to listen to season two next. Tells me that small foibles aren’t enough to put someone off. There’s also a book, but I wasn’t going to pay $16 for an ebook. Price does matter at some arbitrary point.

Giving up isn’t an option for me. I love writing and will always do it. Publishing, on the other hand could be on the chopping block. I already feel like most of my readers are there because of me and not any deep interest in the story or my creativity. My readers mean a lot to me.

I also need to assess my membership at Story Empire. I’m the guy who watches the stats and most of my posts perform well. I struggle to come up with fresh content over there, and now I’m wondering why anyone would pay attention to a guy who can’t get his own books out of the cellar.

I’ve known many an old timer who makes beautiful things, but really doesn’t have a place for them. Old men still whittle, and grannies keep knitting afghans, even though they’ll never wind up at Christie’s Auction house or in the Louvre.

Going wide, and trying to make everything free has limited merit. Amazon is still where all the action is, and Kindle Unlimited is only available if the work is exclusive, so I’m torn on this.

Blog tours used to be my bread and butter, but those failed, too. I know why, and it’s hard to change. It’s complicated. I sold more books by announcing the publication here, than I sold on the subsequent tours. Maybe I’ll blog about new publications, then forget about them. Birds and turtles leave the nest and are on their own. More turtles hatch in a year than I can publish books, though.

The financial difference between selling 500 copies and 5 copies is negligible. Neither situation is going to pay for a week of groceries.

If I stop doing a lot of promo, I don’t really need Lisa Burton anymore. I love commissioning her art, but it was all for promo purposes. That offers some savings, and it matters. She’d probably look good in post apocalyptic armor, or floating around at zero-G with Percy the space chimp, but to what end?

We’re in a phase of getting everything ready to start living on a fixed income. There are a few years left, but that promo money could be directed to paying things off, and doing deferred maintenance on our house.

I need to figure out what I’m going to do moving forward. While it would be nice for my year end posts, that’s not an absolute requirement either.

I’ve been sharing Pinterest boards and people seem to be enjoying them. This one is about promotion, but it’s not my promotion. I call this one Friend’s Books. Check it out https://pin.it/QrAhbO1

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My new normal

I started kind of late today. I wanted to write and had a fun scene in mind. It required me to have Mari do something nice for a kid, then make it dark and dismal right after.

I’ve probably been under a rock somewhere, but recently saw the term PTSD dreams. These sound kind of like what Mari is going through, but I won’t use that term in the story. If I don’t have it absolutely right, I could inadvertently offend someone going through this issue.

Mari will continue to have her dreams, but I’m not putting a name on them. This time it got weirder than they have previously, and her dead son made an appearance.

I’ve put her in a strange position of discovering some good in the world, but getting sucked down by her own past at the same time.

Her life now involves one gigantic ox, who she doesn’t exactly love, but has grown to respect. There’s also a coonhound pup at that gangly stage where she’s all legs and enthusiasm, and Mari loves her dearly.

I need to milk this for some emotion between her own suicidal quest and concern for her animals after she’s gone. Must remember to do that.

As far as the word metrics go, it came to 2000 words today. That sounds wonderful until you realize it’s also 2000 words for the week.

I no longer have a flex day I can dedicate to writing, so this is my new normal. Things will slow down, but I can still push out something every year.

My Pinterest boards have been getting some wonderful comments, so I’m going to keep sharing them. Today, I’m going to share one that is a subset of locations. I call it “Decay.” https://pin.it/E5d3QUa

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Pecking away at the keyboard.

It seems like progress in the writing game just involves planting yourself before the keyboard and chipping away at the outline; written or mental. That’s how I approached my day.

Once Upon a Time in the Swamp is as much about the post apocalyptic world as anything else. I’ve had some fairly grim sequences, and decided to make this stretch a little happier.

Mari came to a city that seems to have accepted their world, and life is much nicer here than anyplace she’s been so far. She’s been in a dark place, and this will give her something to think about as she continues her travels and the hunt for those who killed her loved ones.

She might even have fleeting thoughts about what might happen after her quest ends. This section was kind of a nice respite, but I won’t let her make too many long term plans. Her quest is a life or death kind of thing, so she’ll turn dark again fairly soon. This usually happens when she’s alone once more.

I chose a place called Spanish Fort, Alabama for the town that’s moved on from the historical disasters. Mobile won’t be quite as nice after she leaves.

I’m at around 47,000 words now, and added about 2500 today. Might even get a few more tomorrow.

Old What’s Her Face has to work tomorrow, and we had a nice breakfast before I sequestered myself away. Not exactly date night, but it was great.

It’s time to think about what I need as I approach that arbitrary 80,000 word target. We can learn more about the world, but she needs another fresh clue about the men she’s chasing. Eventually, she has to catch up to them, and this story is going to require a longer denouement phase. I don’t have a hard plan for the number of words, but it’s on my mind now.

I’ve been sharing Pinterest boards and have gotten some good comments about them. These were all made at ten minutes per night over a long period of time. I don’t use the app like everyone else. My boards are all writing related, and are more like a visual notebook or inspiration board. This one is called Magical Gadgets, Mad Science. https://pin.it/3peGbLC

Let me know what you think. Almost anything can be a magical gadget, but it’s nice to have a reference and that’s what I’m building. Is there something here that might fit into one of your stories?

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An author report

I started pretty early today. Otto’s stomach doesn’t understand the big time change yet, and I was okay with that.

I added 1300 words to Once Upon a Time in the Swamp. Mari dug up a grave and gathered a bit of a clue about her self-appointed mission. Because it’s post apocalyptic, I also had her discover an abandoned mine field. Milked that baby for a bit of tension.

Then I switched over to Goodbye Old Paint, and added 1450 words to that project. Lizzie has finished saving the world, but I still have two threads I want to spend some time with. She made a couple of new friends in this one and I think they’re going to hang out a bit. I don’t think it will be boring at all, but readers will have to decide that one day.

Feels good to be writing once more. It truly is the part I enjoy most, and it was a fairly productive day.

Big Apple update last night. Some of the apps have a little weirdness to them today. I might have to edit my link after I post this.

My Pinterest board got some good reactions, so I’m going to share a few more of them. I tend to give it ten to twenty minutes a day and save things I like. The bigger ones took years to grow that large. This one isn’t as big, but it’s useful. Most of them are about writing. I’ll run one out today that isn’t about promotion.

Sometimes you just need a certain kind of character for a story. Enjoy. https://pin.it/6LyizaN

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Back to work

Today was the day for medical appointments. All is well, but I have another one set for a few months. Must be part of the aging process. Either that, or they’re really exited that I have insurance.

I spent the weekend reading my own WIPs. I didn’t get all the way through both of them, but anticipate new words some time this coming weekend.

I decided to share something different tonight. I confess that it could be somewhat promotional in nature, but doesn’t have to be.

I use Pinterest a lot. I try to create a board for all my stories, but the older ones aren’t there. When it comes to The Hat Series, it’s all on one big board. You’ll find things that have appeared in the stories. There are some things that inspired something I created for the series, and there are some things I haven’t used yet, but intend to. I have inspirations for Ray’s Harley bagger, his gunstock warclub, several Colt Pythons, and some upright basses.

If you scroll through it, you can use your own imaginations to decide what I might come up with. You can also see the sinkholes, wooden pitchforks, and a broad spectrum of hats. There are even Lisa Burton posters included from various tours she participated in.

I’m going to keep adding to this board and there are some things saved that might not get used for two years or more.

If you’re looking for something different, check it out. https://pin.it/6UZcF9I

Do you use Pinterest as a writing tool? Do you want to after glancing through this?

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Not tons going on

It’s rare that I get to this point, but the title says it all. Work this week was kind of a disaster, and I’m not excited about the future of some things right now. I won’t say more, but I need to get in another six years or so before I can retire. Craig will play nice. Craig will do what he must.

I didn’t write anything, but still fiddled with the writing business. I sent out a submission for critique on Lanternfish. I also added some personal information to the end of my short story. No idea whether the publisher wants that, but if I don’t send it, I could be shooting myself in the foot.

I still need to read the short one more time, and may do that tomorrow. Mrs. Molony is still hanging around, but since this is my short weekend, I decided to bag it for now. Getting Lanternfish out is my main priority. The critiques are bringing me closer to that goal. I’m a little concerned about having Mrs. Molony ready in time for Halloween.

My artist is busy with Lanternfish projects, so I won’t swamp him with the Mrs. Molony stuff until that’s finished. I have a cover in mind and some fun Lisa ideas to support the story.

I touched up and scheduled my next Story Empire post. That will show up at the end of next week. I really enjoy posting over there, but need another solid idea. My stronger suit is characters, so I should focus on that again. Trying to come up with something for my July posts. Maybe another Expansion Pack or two.

I also started another pin-board on Pinterest. This one is dedicated to magical items and mad science stuff. I like to have reference points when I write and have found them quite helpful. They’re open to anyone, so if they might help you, feel free to help yourselves.

I spent some time finishing Johnathan Strange & Mr. Norrell on Netflix. I heard it was going away, and I’ve seen the early episodes a couple of times over the years. It kind of dragged in the middle, but finished pretty well. It gave me a cool new magical idea, so I made some quick notes before I forgot it. Who knows if I’ll ever use it, but it’s down in one of my apps if the occasion should come along. All in all, I’m glad I stuck with it. I may have caught the first parts on PBS years ago, but never saw the end until this weekend.

I’d like to find something else to watch on either Netflix or Disney+. Something speculative in nature. In another week or so, Disney+ has one that looks fun called Artemis Fowl. Any recommendations until then? Leave them in the comments.

I’ve made an executive decision to stop drafting new material after Mrs. Molony gets published. My brain needs a break for a while. (Three publications per year, two years in a row.) I’ll work on some kind of promo, but have no idea what that will look like. I’m also going to turn my attention to my storyboards. I’d love to produce another stand alone title, but I promised a Lanternfish trilogy. This means when I start back up, Lanternfish III has to be a priority. A more detailed storyboard will help with that.

Hope all of you are having a good weekend. We went from sunny and about about 95 degrees to raining and 70 degrees today. When one extreme front meets another, at least we didn’t get the gigantic winds. We don’t seem to get tornados out west, so that isn’t a worry.

Talk to me people. I’m trying to avoid all the negativity in the world right now. What’s fun on television? What kind of character tips would you like to see at Story Empire? How’s the weather where you are?

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