Tag Archives: pirates

Tallying up the weekend

It’s time to wrap things up. I count today as part of my weekend, because it’s my flex day. I tried to keep my task list small, but items that made the list are large.

Saturday was dedicated to Lisa Burton Radio. I managed to assemble and schedule two posts, which covers scheduling for a couple of weeks. I also wrote and sent out multiple shticks for future interviews. Two of those came back complete, and I could schedule ahead for a month now.

Thing is, I don’t have to. I have some other things to do. I noticed during all this scheduling that there have been 100 episodes of Lisa Burton Radio. That led to the post on Saturday night.

Sunday, I moved on to advance blog posts. If I save up some pennies, I want to get Yak Guy out the door before summer. I sketched out a pair of posts to take it on a blog tour, but I need about eight more. It counts as progress, so I’ll take it. Some of these are easier to write with a few distractions around, so I may get another one during the work week on an evening.

Today is calmer to a degree, so I opened my current project. My characters dug up a graveyard, bought a crappy ship, and left their original project behind. I introduced some minor characters who make up the crew. This is a giant change in their task, but it symbolizes them taking control. There is another huge change coming soon, and it will mark another point of no return.

I’m feeling the presence of the Research Sirens once more. There are terms and locations on a sailing vessel that need to be correct. This is where I could disappear for weeks, but I usually manage to get enough data to fake my way through it.

A background character spent a page to give us an idea of his makeup. (Former hangman.) The basic idea is that all of the crew members come from a place of loss and have a colorful history. I may have to make that point more bluntly.

Under different circumstances, I would make this a writing cabin post, and have the Sirens show up in pirate costume. I had so much to do, I just didn’t take the extra effort that would require.

Maybe if I get those advance blog posts written, I can dedicate some time to making these posts more fun. I enjoy the writing cabin posts, and need to get back to them.

It was a weekend. It was productive. I’ll take it. Back to the office tomorrow for me.



Filed under Writing

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.


Filed under Writing

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

I didn’t get some things done, but made good progress on others. I still need to create a couple of shticks for Lisa’s radio show, and I have one more to schedule. That one is weeks out, but the author requested a specific date and I want to accommodate her. I know how I feel when making plans. I would want to know it’s a done deal. It is a done deal, I just need to get on with it.

I dedicated my time to my own fiction. It came to around 3000 words. I don’t have a complete count, but somewhere around that mark. My main character has to cover up one eye, because the townsfolk decided it’s the evil eye. I also created four tiny monsters with more to come. They haven’t even taken to sea yet, and that’s one of my biggest obstacles here. Act one involves the guy trying to live up to his father’s reputation. He will decide to take his own path, and that’s the part that occurs at sea.

Doesn’t sound like a problem, until you think of promoting it as a pirate story. Will people stick with it long enough to get to the parts I advertise? It may be something that sorts itself out in the second or third pass. Right now I have to draft the damned thing.

I might carry those flighty readers along with some symbolism, and an eye patch could be part of that. His eye is fine, but it’s now permanently red. That scares the general population.

I’m also dealing with travels and conversations. This is touchy, because I want to do some world building and have some of these conversations. However, too many campfires and such might irritate some folks. Like I said, this is the draft process

I’d like to work on it tomorrow, but I need to keep up with the promises I made others. I may need to have a Lisa Burton Radio day and be happy about it.

In other news, my bread rose for about 30 hours and turned out awesome. (Awesomely? Is that a word?) Old What’s Her Face bought me a banneton, also called a brotform, for Christmas. This is a special basket for raising free-standing loaves of bread. I’ve never used it before. It helps the loaf retain its shape on the final rise. It also adds a cool spiral shape to the top crust.

Today was the day. I also used my peel and baking stone for this one. Here’s how it turned out, and it was great with our corned beef.

You can see the spirals the basket made before I added the expansion slices. To use the peel, also in the photo, I added some corn meal to it and the baking stone. This isn’t for flavor, it’s to keep things from sticking. My only mistake was taking the bread from the brotform while the oven reached temperature. This gave it time to spread and I should have done it at the last second. Next time: Dump, slice, bake in about five seconds.

It already has a wonderful sour flavor, and that’s the result of the long rise. My bread usually doesn’t develop that until the next day. No idea why.

I’m skipping the Irish whisky tonight. Old What’s Her Face bought me some cool Irish stout from a small brewery. Beer is very Irish too, so I’m not disappointed.

Hope all of you who are celebrating do it with care. We’re staying home and may rent Justice League on TV. Maybe.


Filed under Uncategorized, Writing

Not doing what I should be doing

While I’m following my blog tour around, I’ve found it hard to write. That doesn’t mean I’ve been completely idle though.

I have bulldogs that need cuddles, a daughter who likes to talk about her big promotion, and my back to deal with. For some reason, my back issue decided to remind me it’s not over yesterday. It’s a bit worse today. This is an important week at work, so it needs to go away.

I reblogged Joan’s post earlier today. Now that it’s after five here, I’m going to mention that it was my turn over at Story Empire. There is a neat conversation going on in the comments about how different we all are when it comes to developing character. Stop over and join in the conversation, I’ll be monitoring the comments.

I also took some time to give my blog a facelift. I found some cool snowflake wallpaper, and Lisa went out to the island and made a snow sculpture for the banner. Then I assembled and scheduled this week’s Lisa Burton Radio.

One of the things I’ve been doing between comments and tweets is looking at my outlines. Something odd happened and it deviates from my master plan. After I finish the novella, I’m supposed to start on a novel called Grinders. This one is a cyberpunk novel about people who do extreme body modifications in an attempt to become better than everyone else. There will be some bio-hacking and such to flesh out the world.

The deal is that it’s not quite ripe when it comes to plot. I have some great characters, locations, and events. It just needs more time in the fermenter.

While I was doing that, one of my problem children kind of grew up. This one started off as a fantasy. Then it evolved into a flintlock fantasy. Somehow, in the past few weeks it became a pirate story and it all seems ready to go. Maybe it has something to do with my new hat stands. There will be magic, some artifacts, and monsters to make it one of my stories. The only remaining question is whether it’s our world or an alternate.

Sometimes it happens this way. I didn’t think this one would be ready for a couple of years. It’s nearly there, and whatever else it needs will come to me as I’m drafting it. I went from one act that I completely reworked, to three acts that are ready to start writing. You know, after I finish the novella called Estivation.

The Hat is still selling, and the reviews are all favorable. I’m so glad that people are enjoying this one. It needs more action, but I have faith in this little story. If you haven’t picked up a copy yet, click on the image in my sidebar and drop 99¢, I think you’ll be glad you did.


Filed under Writing

My last hat stand

Some of you might remember me taking delivery of two cool hat stands about a month ago. The third one arrived last night. This one has a cross bone that is kind of cool. Here they are all together.

They are hat stands after all, so this is what they look like after I put them to work. I found the bone to be a great place for one of my bandanas.

Some hats I wear, some are just for looking at. The one on the left is a cool witch’s hat, but I tipped them all back so you could see the stands. I have a theory there is an awesome pirate hat in my future that would look great on one of these. And Captain Jack’s is just the place to acquire such a thing. If you’d like a cool hat stand, or a pirate hat checkout Captain Jack’s and ask for Jeff MacKay. Tell him I said hello.


Filed under Uncategorized

A travel day

I'm writing this from aisle 28 on a Boeing 757. These are wonderful planes, but the difference between two identical twins is amazing.

This morning, we got onto a brand new plane. The seats were comfy and reasonably sized. The monitor in the seatback had a USB port to charge my cell phone. Even the seatbelt was too big, if you can imagine such a thing.

Our plan was simple enough. We are using our daughter's benefits to fly on standby. The idea was to fly from NOLA to Atlanta, then on to SLC and Boise. We chose this route because it put us home earlier.

When we got to Atlanta, others decided to fly on standby as well, and we were about a dozen people beyond those who would get a seat. Our daughter came to the rescue, routed us to Seattle, and said from there it's a breeze to get home. We will get home later, but that's the joy of standby.

This gave us a bit of airport time. Time to observe the old man in the funny hat, one that looks like a cross between a newsboy and a baseball cap. I've never seen anything like it before. There are the women with big hair. I've written about them before, but in Atlanta the black girls win the day. Huge heads of hair that actually look pretty darned good. If these things are weaves or extensions, don't tell me – I don't want to know. I'm basking in the illusion.

There was the lady with her little dog on a leash, and a mom with her child on a leash. All of this is minutia, but even small observations can help me create a character.

It wasn't until we met the second 757 that I realized I'd forgotten to look at the NOLA phone book. This may not seem like an attraction to most of you, but I struggle to name my characters. I am completely convinced that the NOLA phone book is the holy grail of names now, simply because I missed it.

Oh, this second 757 is the evil twin of the first plane. Our morning flight was all clean and comfy, with wifi that actually seemed to work. This plane has hard seats, archaic monitors without USB ports, and short seat belts. I had five inches of seat belt to spare this morning. Now I need a come-along to ratchet down my stomach just to buckle the damned thing. It's so tight my right leg died about five-hundred miles ago, and my wallet feels like a lump in my throat.

This 757 has an old three-pronged electrical plug for my devices. It's down by the seat of the guy in front of me. This requires me to fold in half like a jackknife to recharge my phone. Also what device in the history of devices ever had a three-pronged plug? I'll give credit though, my little lightning bolt lit right up to indicate my phone was actually charging… right before gravity took over and my cord fell to the floor. The female connection is so loose it won't hold my cable in place without holding it where it needs to be. I'll leave it at that before I get too metaphoric and say something too graphic for kids to read.

I wasn't supposed to start reading again so soon, but what do you do on a five hour flight? I had a children's book all downloaded, but can't get it off the cloud and onto my Kindle app. You see, this 757 has wifi, and it connects fast, you just can't do anything with it after you connect. It seems custom designed to make the spinny thing go around, but nothing else. This is a friend's book, and a short enough read to help me make my RRBC reading goals without more added stress.

Buuuut, the wifi won't let me read it, so I started a craft book that I've held onto for “Someday.” I managed about half of it so far, but my eyes are tired. (And my right leg, and my bladder, and my attitude, etc.) Right now, I'm watching the monitor while a graphic of a 757 moves across the country at the speed of a glacier. I'm typing this by only peripherally glancing at my fingers. Since I can't do anything with the wifi, I'll load this post to my blog later.

Our daughter warned us to take an extra day when flying standby. This sounded like good counsel to us, and we are both off tomorrow. In fact, with my flex day, and a federal holiday, I only had to take one day of vacation time for this mini-vacation. Even I get lucky sometimes.

One hour and five minutes before we get to Seattle. Oh how I miss that first 757.


Update: We're home. I wound up stashing my wallet in my suitcase so I didn't have to sit on it any longer. That helped, but what really helped was our first class accommodations for the last leg of our trip. It was a Delta flight, and since our daughter is a Delta employee we were ahead of everyone else on the list. Seats one A and B. It was only an hour flight, but I appreciated it. I even got to charge my phone back up along the way.

On our last day we wound up stopping at Lafitte's, and I had a drink there. There isn't much made of the place beyond the historical registry stuff. I kind of expected more of a pirate theme to everything, or even a blacksmith's theme. I suppose hammers on the walls isn't a good idea where alcohol is served.

We walked to Cafe Du Monde and had more beignets. These are the most famous ones, but weren't our favorites. We both preferred the Royal place where we started, and I even preferred the ones at the Hotel Monteleone, because of the praline sauce.

Old What's Her Face and I have been married for twenty four years, and lived together for two years prior to that. This trip is the first time we've flown out together anywhere. I hope we don't have to wait that long to do it again.

If you spot me a hundred miles or so, I was on three coasts today. NOLA to Atlanta to Seattle before we got home.

I'm going to catch my breath, then I need to get to work. I have a couple of critique group things to work up for our meeting on the 31st. I'm out of ink too, so I wonder if I can trick my printer into spitting out a couple of pages in navy blue.


Filed under Uncategorized

Hoist the colors, on Lisa Burton Radio


Arrrrgh, maties, hoist the mainsail and get ready for some serious pirating. This is Lisa Burton Radio, and we’re about to sail the seven seas for adventure. I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl.

Today’s show is sponsored by The Razor’s Adventures Pirate Tales, by P. S. Bartlett and specifically, AMBER WAKE – Gabriel Falling by P.S. Bartlett and Ronovan Hester.

Our guest is Gabriel Wallace, but he’s also known as Rasmussen “Big Red” Bergman. Isn’t that cool?

“Welcome to the show, Big Red, or would you prefer something else?”

“Hello lass. Please call me Rasmus or Razz. I’m pleased to join you, although I’ve no idea what a radio is.”

“Razz it is then. My bio says you were a Captain in the Royal Navy. That’s kind of a big deal. How the heck does someone with all that going for them become a pirate?”

“Well, that’s easier to answer than one might think. I was betrayed, maligned and stripped of my rank as well as my commission in the Royal Navy, by a corrupt and unscrupulous Admiral. Plainly put; I was set up for a fall. Corruption runs rampant in His Majesty’s Navy and by the time I realized the deck was stacked against me, I was out on my arse. Fortunately, my first mate, Miles Jacobs, and my loyal crew, stood by me and picked me up. Yes, I suffered personal loss and intimate damage at their hands as well. That is for them to regret and I saw to it that they regretted it just as intimately.”

“Oh Razz, that’s terrible. So the whole thing sounds to me like you were made a scapegoat, and your family paid the price for that. To get your revenge, it sounds like you not only took up piracy, you made a complete identity change too. What can you tell us about that process?”

“Hmmm… I’m still not completely comfortable with the term, pirate. Most think of pirates and believe they are searching for treasure or making their living by robbing merchant ships and relieving Spanish ships of their gold. Most do. I have no interest in gold or fortune. My interests are solely invested in righting wrongs. If bad people get hurt in the process, I’d say that is their reward for getting in the way of justice. I pirate for better reasons if that makes sense.

“However, finding one’s self on the opposite side of law, regardless of the reasons, will change even the most dedicated and dignified man. Then again, perhaps they aren’t changes at all but rather characteristics that were suppressed or even consciously tucked away waiting for the right moment to emerge. Rasmus was a necessary evolution if I was going to be able to conceal my identity in order to complete my mission and by the end of the book, I was indeed more Rasmus than Gabriel.”

“Pirating sounds like a fun time. Sailing around, looking for buried treasure, the freedom to go wherever you want. Tell us a little about the lifestyle.”

“What in God’s name sort of stories have ye been reading lass? Sailing around? No. We always have a mission. Sailing to us is not recreation, it’s a way to get from one place to another, and getting there in one piece depends on skill and experience—not to mention the will of God’s oceans not to kill ye. Second, sacking other ships for profit is a pirate’s line of work. I’ve sacked ships to keep my crew alive and to pay back those who’ve wronged me. Every day we look death in the face and keep going. Every night we chart the stars and follow the moon. It isn’t romantic to open a man’s belly with your sword or shoot someone who’s trying to take your ship. It is however sometimes necessary to preserve your freedom and protect your mates. We’re a floating society with our own set of rules. Follow the rules or face your punishment. Should you violate the code, you can’t beg for mercy since you voted on those rules and chose to break them. I also haven’t searched nor found any treasure yet…at least not in this book.”

“It sounds almost like a mini senate where everyone gets to vote on what the next project is. That’s kind of cool. If I want to become a pirate how do I go about that. Is there an application and interview process?”

“Haha! There’s an interview process alright. Can ye sail? Have ye ever tarred the decks or sewn sails or climbed the rat lines and walked the yards? I’m not sure what “kind of cool” means but being a sailor, especially a pirate, isn’t all drinking and singing shantys on the deck in the sun. It’s hard work ye see. Nobody really sets out wanting to be pirate. The food aboard ship is mostly awful. There’s danger over every horizon and men die out there, lass. Many men go on account to escape the brutal, slave-like treatment they’re subjected to aboard merchant ships, which accounts for most pirate crews. These are men who’ve been beaten and half-starved I’m speaking of.

“For example: a pirate ship takes a merchant ship at sea and offers the lads a chance to create their own destiny. “Sign here!” they say, and freedom is yours!

“I of course didn’t get my start that way but my crew and I are the exception. We took a ship of the Royal Navy and sailed off through smoke and gun fire. We became pirates by fate, not for any of the reasons most men do. I have to admit, though, the freedom to lead your own life and have respect amongst your mates is something worth fighting for. Freedom doesn’t come free. Ye have to fight and work for it every day. However, once ye have it, it’s hard as hell to let it go.”

“When you explain it that way, I’m surprised there aren’t more pirates. We have a caller, do you mind if we take a question?”

“Ye have my full attention, lass.”

“Hello, caller, you’re on the air with Lisa Burton and Razz. What is your question?”

“Well hello there, Captain Bergman. It’s been quite some time since I’ve had the privilege. Hello to you Miss Lisa, I’m Maddox Carbonale.”

“Well I’ll be damned.”

“If you ask me, it’s too late to blame that on me old friend. So, how have you been….since, well, your run in with the Royal Navy?”

“Ye should have stayed for the show, Carbonale. You missed the finale.”

“Damn it’s good to hear your voice again but then, I knew our paths would cross sooner or later. Shall we regale the young lass with tales of our tavern brawls or shall we discuss the time you forced me into hand to hand combat with a crewman?”

“Ahhhh…here he goes! Watch out lass. Mister Carbonale loves to toot his own horn about his conquests. What if we discuss your other conquests, Maddox? You know, your pension for the young wives of Admirals? Now there’s a story worth telling. Ha ha.”

“Captain, I’m sure it would not be polite to discuss such scandal in front of a lady. By the way Miss Lisa, do you ever get down the Caribbean? I could show you around and of course, I have only the most honorable of intentions.”

“Lass, if ye believe that story I’ve got a tale for ye about the time I met a mermaid off the coast of Jamaica! Oh, Maddox, you’ll never change and I hope to God ye don’t my friend. I might not miss your fashion and flowery scent preferences but you and your pretentious ways definitely made our time together interesting. I have missed you old friend.”

“Well boys, it sounds like the life of a character is anything but simple.”

“I would like to bring up how conflicting it was being tossed back and forth between Madam Bartlett and Mister Hester. As you know Captain, it was quite confusing and undignified at times having words put into our mouths and then yanked out as if we had no say what so ever.”

“Oh Maddox will you ever stop with your belly aching over this book having been co-written? They did the best they could and imagine how difficult it was for me? Missus Bartlett had written us both before in her other books and Mister Hester only knew of us what she’d written. I was a whole other person—literally, going into this book. Of course there was going to be a bit of a tug of war. You survived it so shut your port hole and be grateful for all of these five star reviews we’re all getting.”

“Easy for you to say, you’re in three of Bartlett’s novels. I’m still waiting for the sequel to The Blue Diamond. Ivory and I have quite a bit of…unfinished business shall we say?”

“Don’t make me come and hunt you down Carbonale. As of right now, she’s still my wife.”

“Oh let us confuse the bloody hell out of this poor woman shall we? Do you all see now what I must put up with?”

“Yeah boys, I get it. In my story I got electrocuted, shot, partially disabled, and had all kinds of hardware problems. It’s a tough old business, but we wind up having a little fun along the way too.

“Say boys, robot girls everywhere would like to meet the Dread Pirate Roberts. Do either of you– Sorry, got a little conflict in my software. Do either of you know him?”

“The Dread Pirate who?

“He’s the peculiar and sort of swishy fellow from that movie The Princess Bride. You see, Lisa, Razz isn’t as worldly as I, although he’s well-read and has an equal level of education. However —

“I know who he is and I’m not impressed. I won’t deny he could handle and sword but all that romance and fancy talk…well, let’s just say a true man of the sea knows who his true lady love is.”

“There’s no hope for the man, Miss Lisa. Captain Bergman, perhaps it’s time you set a course for Demons and Pearls and have yourself reminded of a few or those fancy words. I do believe you’ll find another lady of equal temperament to the sea you so adore, waiting for that shaggy red melon atop your shoulders to rock your boat a bit…although upon my life I am yet to understand what she saw in you. But alas, I’ll be several books ahead, awaiting my opportunity to sail away on that same tumultuous, daring, deep blue eyed, bonny sun kissed and unpredictable sea.”

“Watch it, Carbonale. You never know when I could show up again and turn that voyage bottoms up. However, I accept your challenge and any other that presents itself to me—be it a hurricane or a female.”

“Oh I have no doubt we’ll meet again man to man. As a matter of fact, I’m looking forward to it.”

“Thanks for being on the show today, boys. Make sure you eat your limes now. For Lisa Burton Radio, I’m Lisa Burton.”


I included the purchase links at the beginning of the show. You can connect with these authors at the following locations:

P. S. Bartlett:

Website: http://psbartlett.me/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PSBartlett

Twitter: https://twitter.com/PSBartlett

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7012732.P_S_Bartlett

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/peggystankiewicz/

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/psbartlett214/

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/P.S.-Bartlett/e/B00CP4PF4U/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1


Ronovan Hester:



Filed under Lisa Burton Radio