Tag Archives: Pinterest

Time to move on to the next project

The Yak Guy Project has been launched. The tour is over, and it’s safe to come out now. I always try to reblog for my hosts as a way of paying them back. If you missed the tour, you can still catch up by scrolling back through my feed. If you have a mind to.

I am grateful to all of my hosts, and you can all borrow my blog space any time you like.

During the tour, we sold a few books, and even managed to garner a few reviews – all of which were favorable. I intend to share any review blogs I stumble across in the next few months too. Of course, if the reviewer just manages to find Amazon to post, that is more than enough for me.

I want to get back to my work in progress, but that’s going to take at least two weeks. I’m sure there will be a warming up phase too, because I’ve been away from it for a while.

I’ve also been thinking ahead. Pinterest is a wonderful source of inspiration for me. I came across some great black and white photos from colonial Africa, and added them to a board called, “The One I May Never Write.” Many of these were people around campfires, and their faces are so interesting. There is so much character there.

Part of what’s holding me back here is popular sentiment about hunting. I can’t, in good conscience, take people from that era and work around the modern concepts of how evil hunting in all forms is. A young man in that era would want to go on safari, and he would enjoy the process. I used to be a big time hunter myself, and still look forward to my annual grouse dinner. I can write that part pretty convincingly.

I’ve toyed with some tricks. The woman in the story would be a local, and might impart some sensibility into his thought process. The group might be able to eat an entire impala, but it’s absurd to take an elephant for supper. The other trick is dealing with a man eater of some kind. Probably need a man eater in one of my type stories anyway.

The outline has a lot going for it, but the question remains. Will modern sentimentality kill this book faster than a .450 Jeffries to the head. It has a lot going for it, like magic, awesome setting, a love interest, a bit of war involving multiple factions, and oh yeah… diamonds.

Then there is a bit of author magic I need to do. I want to weave together some elements of style to help bring the setting up to something with a little more romance. There are some cool pins I’ve saved for that too. If you want, you can check the Pinterest Board. The debate still goes on in my mind. Should I dedicate months to write something the haters with an agenda could very well attack?

I don’t get it, but if you kill a fictional monster you’re a hero, kill a fictional lion and you’re a bad guy.

I also have a few different ideas involving Lizzie and the Hat. I’m determined to bring them back somehow, because that book performed really well.

Before anything else, we’re going to Las Vegas this weekend. Back when we still had money, we bought tickets to the Pink concert. I may be harder to catch this weekend, but I will get to everything somehow. This is my wife’s dream concert, but I’m kind of jazzed about it too. I’ve seen bits and pieces of her performances, and she puts on quite a show.

The following weekend, I left a bunch of people afloat on the ocean in a small ship, with piracy on their minds.

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Working away here

I intended to update last night, but with a great new review I felt like that served me better. Actually, I got three new reviews over the weekend, but Robbie blogged about it and that means a lot to me. (Thanks, Robbie.)

Over the course of the last two days, I’ve managed about 5000 new words on my project. My characters made it to their destination city and are researching their options. In the mean time, another assassin is lurking about. There is a bit of small monster mayhem going on too. My main character, James, has been approached by a man with a shady plan. The new guy calls himself Johnny Jump Up. This little encounter led to James going missing.

Johnny has a past, and I’ll weave a bit of that into the story later. Particularly how he came by the name.

This one is tentatively called Voyage of the Lanternfish, and it’s pirate themed. I made a general piracy board on Pinterest, and it’s good for inspiration. There are some great angler fish images there. I chose the term Lanternfish for my fantasy story. I’d love to share one, but I don’t want to step on anyone’s copyright. You may want to check it out on Pinterest.

In author terms, I’m fast approaching the end of Act One. This is where the plan fails and the bottom falls out. I’m really looking forward to getting there. The section I’ve been writing involves a bit of deep tension. I like to jump ahead and get to the action, but some scenes like this are necessary.

One of the tough decisions I made was to set this in a fantasy world. This was an attempt to distance myself from a certain popular franchise. This means I need alternatives to places like Tortuga. It also requires me to include a few fantasy creatures, like the owlcats I referenced a couple of times. I plan to glance off some of this, just to give the world some flavor. Things like saltwater bay frogs, and pelicanfish. I’ll come up with a few more, but may not use them all.

What I need to be doing is chipping away at some blog tour posts. I have another book ready to go, and I want to release it before summer, because summer has been pretty dismal in my experience. I need ten posts, and really need to start on them.

In other news, I wrote and scheduled my next Story Empire post. It’s up on Wednesday. I also exchanged enough material to complete another of Lisa’s interviews. I admit to pecking away at these. I’m a bit ahead of the game, so I’m using that time to work on my story.

My wife and I are both off tomorrow, and that usually doesn’t lead to new fiction. This may be a good time to start working on those promotional posts.

I’ve also neglected blog reading, Twitter, and the rest. Maybe I’ll spend some time catching those up.

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Checking in

By now, my regulars are probably aware that I’m in the midst of a blog tour. For more details, see other posts on this site recently. The Hat is doing well, and the early reviews are all wonderful. There is one review that won’t seem to go through, but the reviewer told me about it and let me read it. I wish it would go through, but that’s likely an Amazon issue.

I’ve been reblogging everything I can find, because it gives a little bit of support to those wonderful folks who support me. You might be asking if it even matters to the bigger bloggers. Does Chris the Storyreading Ape need another follower? You bet he does, and if I can find one for him it makes my day. This goes for everyone, no matter how big or small they are today.

I have a house full of company right now, so I’ve been doing little more than bouncing from site to site and keeping up with comments. I’ve also been scrolling through the Reader to see if something shows up that was unexpected.

My family will leave tomorrow, then I can focus on Lisa Burton Radio posts and some tours I agreed to host for others. I’ll probably be pretty busy with it tomorrow.

The only other thing I’ve managed, other than visiting family, is Pinterest. I never thought I’d be a Pinterest guy, but I’m such a visual person it really works for me. I started a couple of new boards. One is all about cast iron ranges. They used to be more common, but they are kind of rare these days. Many of them are beautiful, so I started a board. One day, if I win the lottery, I’ll build a new house and find a way to put one in as a kind of wood stove, one that can also cook my sourdough bread.

The other one is more interesting on a mental assessment level. I called it The One I May Never Write. This is stuff for a book that might be too controversial to ever write today. It involves deepest Africa in the early 1900s. Because a bit of hunting would be required for that era, it probably wouldn’t go over well with the 2018 mindset. It would not be realistic for a young man of that era to not want to chase something big and dangerous. This is different than harvesting food, or taking on a man eater. Kind of an odd thing about fiction; kill a human and it’s no big deal, kill an animal and people go crazy. As one of my stories, it would include a bit of black magic too. Anyway, here is a link to The One I May Never Write.

The deeper topic is, why did I start this board in the first place? Am I subconsciously preparing to actually write it one day? Am I seeking someone to twist my arm? Why did I write about it here? I really don’t know. Maybe I just like the pretty pictures.

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It’s a fool’s errand

I tried this morning, I really did. It took me about half an hour to get out of bed. It took me that long and more to pull on pants. I called in, and basically for the rest of the week too. The doctor gave me some better meds, and I decided I’d better write before I start taking them.

I decided to tackle my Pinterest issue this morning. I originally made a few boards that relate to what I write; paranormal, science fiction, and fantasy. Beyond that, Lisa has a board, and my books and reviews have a board. The bulk of everything went onto a board called Loose Collections. I tried to keep it simple.

It turns out some new concepts are showing up in Loose Collections, and should have their own boards. Sounds easy enough, right? I made boards for cars and bikes, pinup girls, tiki stuff, Gypsy Caravans, horse cavalry, pirates, and more.

Re-arranging things was pure effort. One image has to be pinned into the board it belongs in. Then the one in Loose Collections has to be deleted. Seems like they could benefit from a mass select that would let me re-pin or delete as I choose.

Here’s where it get’s crazy. I have some images with a cartoon girl who is a pirate, leaning against a large tiki carving. Where do I pin that one? I also have some awesome custom hearses in the paranormal folder. Should I now move those to the cars and bikes board? Should I make a hearse board too? What about the cartoon girl blowing a hole through a zombie? Is that girl-art or is that paranormal?

This stuff drives me crazy.

I surprised myself with how much creepy gothic furniture and how many fixtures I’ve pinned. I made another board. Now what do I do with the apothecary and witch’s pantry stuff. Is that paranormal, or is it now furnishings?

I also noticed I’ve pinned a lot of guns. Famous ones, engraved ones, some with gold inlay, that kind of thing. I’ll probably make a guns board too.

This stuff makes a great writing reference. Need a decked out Indian motorcycle? I have pins. When I need ideas for the next Lisa project, there are some cartoons and models who can help with poses and settings. How about a nice Gypsy caravan, there is a young board of those. I looked at and pinned a lot of GTOs when coming up with Clovis’ car in The Playground.

Pinterest is a valid tool for a writer. If I catalog things well enough, I can find things when I need them. These could be character ideas, bits and pieces of setting, props, outfits, all kinds of things. I am starting boards for all future fiction projects, and will leave them up beyond publication. I don’t want to cross post things, so there may be a threshold as to how well I can file things away. The pirate girl with tiki could go onto three distinct boards.

These boards can help you too. Dreaming up a science fiction project? Maybe you want to surf through my board for some visuals. You’re more than welcome. Here is the main link for me on Pinterest. If you decide to check it out, let me know if I’m on the right track. Now I need a gun board, and have to figure out what to do with those hearses.

This day is in the books. I’m going to take some controlled substances and retire for the night. Maybe I’ll dream up a crackerjack of a story while I’m zonked.

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Home again, home again.

Yesterday went well. I had a bunch of intelligent questions and stayed late to make sure everyone got some level of satisfaction. This put me into the house at 9:30 PM.

I have a hard time going to sleep after a long drive, so I stayed up for an hour and dealt with blog comments. My plan was tentative at best to sleep in this morning.

The alarm puppy had the good sense to wait until 5:00 am to wake me up. I let her go potty and tried to go back to sleep. This time of morning meant all the dogs had to crawl in with us. It’s cute, really it is, but Otto weighs 65 pounds. He’s like a big rock when he leans against you and steps on the blanket. I tried to sleep, but by quarter to six, I gave up completely.

I fixed their kibble, and they ate like little horses, then went back to sleep with mom. I monkeyed around with blog comments, RSS feeds, Facebook, and Twitter. After that, I knew I had to work on Lisa Burton Radio posts. I assembled next week’s post, but didn’t do much with the week after. I still need to do that prior to Monday.

I also got some material out for a promo I jumped on for October, and another post for The Storyreading Ape’s site. Then I responded to an inquiry about a pet interview. All I have to do is respond to it as one of my dogs.


I glanced over my shoulder. Huh, wife and dogs are still asleep. Whatever shall I do?

I opened a new document and started writing The Hat, a paranormal superheroish origin story. I like the character intro, and I think readers will have some fealty with her right away. She’s been through a tough stretch. I am doubting myself because it needs a bit of backstory. With a two character, buddy type, story it’s almost necessary. I can introduce Lizzie and get everyone up to speed the right way. When it comes to the hat, yes he is a character, I have to dive into some backstory.  He’s ancient compared to Lizzie and readers need to know some things. I already have some plan to get part now, and another part later. That helps to break it up.

All in all, I’m nearing 2700 words. I didn’t plan this as a writing day, so I’m content. My wife has to work tomorrow and Sunday, so I’ll have much more time to dedicate to this project.

This also poses a mental shift to me. All I want to do now is work on the new story. I have to keep Lisa burton Radio moving ahead, and I have edits back on The Yak Guy Project. I want those edits completed by Mid September. — so it isn’t exactly an emergency.

By the end of the weekend, all I need to do is get another Lisa Burton Radio almost complete. Then I need to respond to the pet interview. After that, I can work on whatever I like, and I kind of choose The Hat.

Just for giggles, someone talked me into starting Pinterest boards for my pending projects. I started one for The Hat if you’d like to check it out.

I got some strange message from Twitter about adding my telephone number to my account. I didn’t want to do this, but they make it nearly impossible not to. The process sends you a call and a text from some cryptic number that has nothing about it that says Twitter. Then they ask if I’d like to receive updates and notifications. Oh sure!!! I’d love to have my phone ringing whenever one of my thousands of followers posts something. Particularly love that shit in the middle of the night. I turned all that off, but they said not to worry, I could always text to turn it back on. All I have to do is text to the cryptic number that has nothing about it that says Twitter.

Personally, I think they just want my number to sell to telemarketers. I’m relatively certain I’m about to start getting texts about fake prizes I’ve won, timeshares I need to visit, and vacations I haven’t really won. They make me choose between accepting this, or quit using Twitter. I’m trying to be an author here, but Twitter has rendered itself almost useless. Most of my activity is to support others there.

The Twitter thing only happened after their last update. Did anyone else get this message too?

I’ve been playing with the actual WordPress app on my last few posts. Blogsy is outdated and they have no plans to update it for future versions of iOS. It’s too bad, because they did WordPress better than they WordPress does. Everything was easy, made sense, and came with options even WordPress didn’t have. I checked, and there aren’t any decent blogging apps left in the App Store. This leaves me with the WordPress App. How does this post look at your end?

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Hello, Writing Cabin

I tromped into the writing cabin and caught Lisa unprepared.

“I thought you were reading and stuff. Let me just tidy up real fast.”

The office looked emaculate and I told her so. “What kind of mess can one robot girl make while I'm out? You don't even have to cook.”

“Dust, there's still dust even if I'm completely gone.”

“Suit yourself. I finished my backlog of projects, and decided to try a bit of writing today. You know, just to see if I remember how.”

Lisa broke into action, making coffee with one hand while she took out the Swiffer and went over the floor with the other one. She took a dust cloth and ran ahead of me to my writing desk.

The raven of Doubt glared at me from his perch. He bobbed up and down a few times in excitement.

“Not yet, dude. I'm not doing any editing today. It's time to move the Yak Guy ahead.” He knows The Enhanced League is ready to start editing, but I don't feel rushed to dive in yet.

I started by rereading my last few chapters. I made a small correction or two, and Doubt gave me the stink eye. Lisa showed up with coffee about the time I started writing.

I wrote one short chapter and it was kind of draining. It came in slightly over 3000 words. I don't know if it's because I hadn't written in a while, or because of the content. This chapter involved the end of the yak. He's been such a central character to the story it was hard to see him go.

“I'm really going to miss him,” Lisa said. “He's been at the cabin for a long time.”

“He has, and the next go round maybe we'll see the end of yak guy, Ted.”

“Then what?”

“Then, you probably have to pose for more posters and plan for a worldwide blog tour – or two.”

“That's always fun, then I'm going to use some vacation time.” She opened the window and let in some fresh air. Doubt took the opportunity to stretch his wings at the same time. She sighed as the yak crossed the meadow and headed for the snowy peaks. “He played a mean game of chess, you know.”

“Really, how did he move the pieces?”

“He told me the moves, and I moved them for him.”

“Kind of like he was playing against the computer then?”

“Not kind of, he was playing against me, my processors, and memory. He won more than a few too.”

“Maybe you can get him to come back for your radio show someday. Did you put his data in your Rolodex?”

Please, I'm completely electronic, you should know that by now, and yeah, I have his contact data.”

I checked email, and answered blog comments while she stared out the window.

“So what happens next?”

“Yak guy has to finish his journey. After that, I have a couple of novellas I want to try. That's how it will work out in a perfect world. They could be long short stories or short novels depending on the experiment.”

“What are we talking here? I might need to buy some new outfits for these stories.”

“One is a kind of paranormal superhero origin story.”

“Is that the one with all the hats?”

“Yes, ma'am.”

“So you'll want the paranormal office then.”

“Absolutely. The other one is a spin on the lifeboat story. It has a science fiction background, but they're stuck in an underground bunker for a specific amount of time. The problem is they can't leave, and the antagonist is in there with them.”

“Got it, I already earmarked a bunch of hats and can get them ordered. I wonder what scream queens are wearing this season?”

“I'm sure you'll figure it out before we start. We have to give yak guy some closure first.”

The enchanted beer horns sounded off and came running. They curled around my ankles like a pair of cats.

“Hi guys, I missed you too.”

Lisa said, “I got a nice doppelbock from McCall Brewing for you to try. It's called Dunce Cap.”

“Huh! Did you pick that specifically for me?”

“Of course, I know doppelbock is your favorite.”

Woosh!”

“Don't woosh me, I know what you meant. Do you want the beer or not?”

“Of course, besides, these guys won't stop honking unless we fill them up.”

***

For those of you so inclined, I opened a Pinterest account earlier this year. I started a couple of boards called The Hat and Estivation that relate to my upcoming projects. You can check them out here.

 

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Productive Holiday

I headed for the writing cabin about 6:30 this morning. It was clear and cold, and apparently determined to stay that way. (Our high temperature today was a blistering nine degrees.)

Lisa* knew I was coming. (She monitors my phone and gyrocopter.) When I walked into the writing cabin, the fireplaces were pushing heat, and the coffee was hot. “What's the plan today, boss?”

“The Yak Guy. We're getting close to the end, and I want to keep making progress. Is the yak still in the basement stable?”

“Sure is.”

I turned toward the staircase, and Lisa stopped me. “Wait. Give him his carrot. I picked up a bunch, and give him one every day.”

“Won't Bunny get jealous?”

“Oh no. He gets some too.”

I grabbed the carrot by the leaves, scooped up some hot coffee, and headed downstairs.

The yak stood in his stall, but the gate was open. “Hey, brought you a carrot.”

“Thanks, but I don't care for them that much,” the yak said.

I glanced back over my shoulder. “You're going to have to eat it. Lisa thinks she's doing something wonderful for you.”

“Fine, but I've had to eat a lot of carrots in the last six months. I don't want to let out my saddle.” He accepted the carrot and started munching.

“I'm heading for the Wheel of Fortune part of the story. Is the Yak Guy ready for it?”

“He isn't too bright, but he seems to be ready when the next event comes along. All you can do is try. I don't know how he's going to react to a decision he has to make with imperfect information. He always wants to know all the answers ahead of time.”

“Don't we all. It seems more prevalent with Yak Guy's generation though. I have a hunch, he'll deal with it if I don't give him any choice.”

“You can always have me gore him in the butt again.”

“Heh, that was fun, but I don't know if we can do it again without it seeming forced.”

“I understand, but there are days I'd like to.”

“Alright, buddy, get your saddle on and I'll have Yak Guy meet you in the meadow.”

I tromped upstairs to my office and kicked Yak Guy off the couch. “Time to get to work.” He begrudgingly left, and headed outside.

Words flowed well, and the Wheel Of Fortune lesson is over. All I have to do is rescue some kids, then find some refugees, and reunite him with the love of his life. I think it's going to hit 80,000 words, and if not I'll have to enhance a couple of places. I have a hard time calling it a novel if I don't get the word count.

The yak led his human into the basement and got him all settled. Lisa asked if that was it for the day.

“I think I can manage a bit more, to be honest. I'm going to try a baseball story.”

“Oh, crap, I never called any of them.”

“No problem, this story is about a barbecue on a day when the players are off. I'm going to explore their feelings about being placed on waivers, and who their competitors are for post-season slots. We'll write it, and interview them all later to make it feel right.”

“Too bad, I would have enjoyed a barbecue and a dinner party. I have this cute little black–“

“Nevermind, let's just write it. Maybe you can put an old game on TV for some atmosphere.”

“Oh sure, no problem.”

That seemed to get Lisa focused, and I cranked out a 1000 word micro-story. I'm enjoying these tales, but I don't know how the world will receive them at large. There are a bunch of stories, and a few recurring characters. It tells the story of a mythical season, but delves behind the scenes and covers a lot of activities off the field too. In a way, it has some similarities to The Playground in the way I'm relaying it. Because there is an overarching story, I can't do the twist endings my short stories are known for. There are some, but not with the frequency an Experimental Notebook would have.

I leaned back in my chair and took a sip of my coffee. “Let's make a couple of storyboards.”

“Are you serious? I didn't thaw out the left side of your brain. I might be able to, but don't want to scorch it again.”

“Don't worry about him. We'll just pin some cards up, and we can make them perfect later on.”

Lisa headed for the basement, and returned with two storyboards, a pile of index cards, some sticky notes, and all the colored pens you could want. What can I say, the girl likes making storyboards.

We made one for a science fiction tale I'm calling Estivation. This is like hybernation, but occurs when things get too hot. It involves a cute young couple who have to spend three months in a survival bunker while a parasite sun passes by their planet. I invented the term parasite sun for a gas giant planet that manages to ignite somehow. When things line up, their own sun plus the parasite sun, makes the surface deadly.

Their bunker is already occupied by a thief, and they all get locked in together. Happiness and merriment ensue. (Not really) They don't have enough food to last three months now. Throwing the bad guy out will expose them all to deadly radiation.

Lisa put that board aside, and we made one for a project called The Hat. This involves a hard working girl, who missed out on the family decision about what to do with grandma's personal possessions. She had to pull an extra shift and missed the meeting by a couple of hours. When she gets to granny's junk shop, her evil uncle decided to sell everything. All the heronine wanted was one of grandma's house plants, but even this was denied her.

When evil uncle's back is turned, she grabs a box and takes it home. Inside the box is an old fedora hat. It wasn't even grandma's, it belonged to the grandfather she never knew. Turns out the hat talks and forms a kind of symbiotic relationship with the wearer. This one is going to become a kind of paranormal superhero type story.

When wearing the hat, my heroine can see through his eyes too. They can communicate without vocalizing their words. She can see behind her, or wherever he is looking. She can also shoot guns while using his vision, while her own vision aims a different direction. On top of that, The Hat, plays an upright bass. She needs to wear him, and he uses her fingers and hands. This part is going to be great for character purposes.

I think my main plot problem is going to involve baby snatchers, and I've decided to include an unhelpful witch in the supporting staff.

The Hat is going to be more of a buddy tale, with my heroine and the hat making up the buddies. They're going to bicker and (hopefully) grow during the tale.

Lisa said, “So The Hat can be any kind of hat she wants, as long as it's a hat? Is that what's going on?”

“Yeah, basically. She can be seen in one thing, round the corner, and it's something else completely. Maybe headphones or something. Might make a reasonable way to avoid the cops.”

“This is so exciting, I'm going to order a small mountain of hats.”

“You party on, Lisa.”

And that's where I called it a day.

*Lisa Burton is my robotic personal assistant, and the spokesmodel for Entertaining Stories.

If any of you are that interested, you can check out pin boards for The Hat, and Estivation on my Pinterest site.

 

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