Tag Archives: pirates

Yo ho ho, it’s a trilogy.

No real interruptions today. I made sure to follow my routine, and wound up making changes to existing material. I discovered that I’d gone over Mule and Yoshiko’s ending twice. Both were good material, but one seemed to fall in a better location. It’s odd for me to make a mistake like this, but I had to delete one section.

I also had to go back and add in a bit about Mal, the witch doctor. It wasn’t much, but he has fans and they will want to know how he wound up. He’s doing things on his terms, and I kind of like it that way.

I don’t mind telling you that I teared up at a few points. I know my characters are outrageous, but I designed them that way. Giving them a suitable ending was hard, but they all make sense. Readers will be left with a vision of the future for not only the characters, but the government in general.

Not everyone lived through this adventure. When there is a war, 100% survival seems unrealistic. That part was written months ago, but I worry about how it will be received.

Another concern is that a big part of this final adventure happens on land. I saw it as facing James’s weaknesses. He has to work where he is least comfortable to pull this off.

This yarn came in about 10,000 words shorter than the others. I am not worried about that. As the end of a trilogy, there is a bigger denouement, but I don’t want to drag it out either. In a classical sense, this is the one where you party with Ewoks.

The trilogy will end with plenty of cannonades, martial arts, a few con games, a haunted knife, and yes there are root monsters. I’m going to leave it in the fermenter for a month before I look at it again.

I don’t want to drop any spoilers, at least until I’m closer to publication. I’ve been sitting on the cover art for months, and thought perhaps you’d enjoy a sneak peek. It’s kind of a spoiler itself, but it’s too good not to share.

In other news, I spent last night creating a set of throwing bones that will make an appearance in the next Hat story. I may turn my attention to that storyboard, or I may download a book and read. Right now, I’m just letting it all soak in and will decide later.

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Of daughters and pirates

I intended to work on my book today, but didn’t intend to hit it hard. I allowed myself to wake up whenever Otto decided he was hungry. It was still 6:30, but it’s two hours later than my alarm goes off.

I took my time. Read some blogs, dealt with email, and enjoyed my coffee. Even managed to pay the bills.

I started by backing up two chapters and made a few more adjustments than I usually do. I’m on the downhill slide here, and the denouement is writing itself pretty well. Since this is a trilogy, I have a lot of characters to cover.

I no sooner started than the phone rang. My daughter wanted to chat. Her premise was her sore feet. The backstory is that she rolled her ankle a couple of times in the last few years. She works on her feet and they get sore.

When she was here a few weeks ago, I showed her my rolley thing that you put on the ground and roll around with your foot. It’s like a short rolling pin, but is lathe turned so it has grooves. After about five minutes her feet felt great. She called to tell me she ordered one from Amazon.

“Okay. Good job. Thanks for calling…”

Nope.

Ninety minutes later we were still on the phone. Budgets, shoes, work, Covid, etc. Mostly nothing special, but it was her. I can’t cut her off, and actually enjoy chatting with her.

Once we finally disconnected it was lunchtime. I decided to make myself a hoagie sandwich and used the stout beer mustard Old What’s Her Face bought me. It was really good.

Then I started writing, but knew I wasn’t going to finish. I brought things up to the point of Serang’s denouement, and on the cusp of the root monsters. I just never made it that far.

I have all weekend and am certain to finish the draft. I’m finding it kind of sad to bring this full circle. I’ve sailed a few seas with these characters, but it’s time to give them their happy endings. If my daughter claimed some of that time it’s fine by me.

My sincerest hope is that everyone’s ending is suitable for my readers. What I have in mind is realistic, and feels like it makes sense for the various characters.

I’ll get another chance tomorrow, and that will be fine by me.

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Another 4000

Something strange happened at the office on Thursday. As our workday wound down, we all got an email that everything would be closed for a new federal holiday on Friday. The feeling around the office was uplifting. I didn’t know what to do with myself on Friday, so Old What’s Her Face and I just hung out together.

She volunteered for a shift at work today, so I had the house to myself. I planned it for a writing day, and we’ll be together again tomorrow.

I started early and left doors open while it was still cool. I started like I always do, by rereading what came before, and making some small modifications.

As Lanternfish winds down, I have a lot of small sections to create. This leads to a lot of page breaks, but I like what I’m seeing. Everyone is starting to display a degree of independence, and it feels natural now that warfare and piracy are over for most of them. I planned this part out so the words are flowing pretty fast.

Everyone needs to move on, and they aren’t going to do that as a crew. I have a lot of characters to deal with, and I’m taking them in tiers just like I’ve always done. Lesser characters will get a paragraph or two. More major characters will get a deeper dive into their futures.

I’m keeping in mind that a lot of readers had favorites, and want to bring everyone a bit of closure, even if it’s only a line or two.

The country is healing now, and things are looking positive. I should mention there are still root monster antics going on. Some of you became pretty attached to them, and I have something good in mind for them later.

I’m stopping a few words short of 4000 today. I might even finish the draft in another strong writing day, but we’ll see. It will be a little shorter than the first books in the trilogy, but still fit into a fantasy length.

I love it once the middle slog ends and the words just flow. I enjoyed myself today, and I think readers will like it, too.

Did any of you gain a Juneteenth holiday? Did you get some writing time in? Are you doing something fun?

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One for the books

Family time managed to cut into the four days I had available. I’ve already posted about graduation. About all there is to do there is attend for the graduate.

We went to a party at my son’s house to celebrate her accomplishment, and it was anything but small and intimate.

When Sunday came around, my wife had to work. That left my daughter and I to have a long visit. I called my parents while she went for her fancy coffee, then we had several hours to ourselves.

I really enjoyed spending quality father-daughter time. The topics don’t matter very much, it was just the time hanging out that mattered.

This morning, I had the house to myself. I fed the dogs, then started off with a small walk to clear the cobwebs. I’d been suffering for time to work on Lanternfish, and then it only moved ahead by small increments.

That wasn’t what happened today. When I stopped last time, the end of the war was upon us. I started today with the formal surrender.

After that it was time to reoccupy the city, and start reconstruction of several countries. Some of this doesn’t lend itself to fantasy, but I managed to show the cooks with pieces of something I called the river dog. It has huge calamari type tentacles.

I also discovered the bag moth larva on Pinterest. These things cover themselves with twigs and sand, much like a caddis fly, only they are land born. By making mine much larger, I added an interesting scene where one had a pistol woven into its home. It makes a little statement about the litter of war and shows life going on. I called mine the bag weevil.

I could write another novel about the reconstruction and all the political gyrations between allies and enemies, but this is supposed to be the denouement for Lanternfish. I have a lot of characters to get to, and while the main ones will get more attention, some of the minor ones were somebody’s favorites and I need to address them, too.

A lot of planning went into this phase and you can see the value in the 5800 words I wrote today. I could have kept going, but didn’t want to rush things.

Next weekend isn’t looking too favorable, but I might get a few hours. I only had a goal of 2021 for this book. I think I can publish it in the fall and not feel rushed to get it out. That gives me plenty of time in the fermenter, and some decent hours for polishing it up.

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The win column

I called my parents this morning before doing anything else. Mom is headed out to put flowers on graves today.

After that, I decided to get my butt in gear and return to Lanternfish. The story is in a weird place right now, and it’s almost like I have a second middle slog.

I caused this by having the various characters scattered all over the continent. Each group had something to accomplish, and they’ve all done that now.

This poses a problem, because they all need to reconvene. I can’t just pop everyone into the end game. Serang and James both have large groups of people to move around. It’s a world at war, so a clear road just isn’t going to work.

At this time, readers will have seen land and sea battles in abundance. I’ve resorted to watching them from afar, then gathering intelligence to make the next moves.

I’m just about there. Serang is on the final leg of her journey. I added a tiny chapter about Diego Palumbo, but also sped it up somewhat.

James is idle, and still needs to account for the root monsters before he gets moving again. I can probably tackle that in the morning. Root monsters require a different mindset than writing cannonades and cavalry charges.

I need to figure out some kind of fantastical creature to weave into the scenery along the way. This is a somewhat fantasy story, and at this point root monsters are accepted and normal characters. It won’t have to be much, maybe some kind of wildlife.

It came to around 2700 words, so I’m calling it a good day. If I can do that tomorrow, I won’t lament taking yesterday off.

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2100 words

Not my best day ever, but not bad either. Some big things happened without including tons of adventure.

The Palumbos met up with Serang and her army. They delivered what might be the most important piece to the whole war. Things are starting to fall into place.

James is still off somewhere doing his part, so I didn’t get to work on his story today.

Honestly, I think I could have done more, but there was another squirrel festival happening in the back yard. At one point, I let Frankie out, and before I could write a single word, another squirrel showed up. Trust me, she is strong enough to worry about the glass slider, so I let her out again.

My plot struggle now is timing. I have a continental sized war going on, and people can’t just get together without travel on horseback. A few weeks ago, I introduced the Crier’s Guild, and that helps with fleshing some things out. That way, I don’t have to write about every single campsite or battle that happens. I change scenes, and the town crier updates my readers.

I need at least one more battle for Serang, then it might be advantageous to lose track of her for a while. That way, when she shows up it can be a surprise that turns the tide somewhere. Bears some thought, at least.

James has some problems to sort out in the south, and that’s going to involve at least two battles. I have a fun plan for him on the second one.

After that, it should all be pretty easy. The big issue is making it feel real from here to there. I don’t want to write every step, and readers would get bored. I still have to include some changing seasons or something so readers can tell I’ve moved the story along.

This is a good time to stop and put thought into the gap I’m worried about. I’ll take 2100 words any day. Absent squirrels it could have been more.

I have a post written for Story Empire, so I need to check the calendar and schedule it.

It’s also a good time to assess some promo for Lunar Boogie. I have my completed MS back from the formatter, and am only waiting for the last Lisa Burton poster. This weekend, I can start advance hacking on blog tour posts for when I publish. It looks like I’m going to get it out before summer and I’m excited for that.

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Tough going today

I scratched this weekend off as far as writing is concerned. Our daughter was supposed to come and we were going to help celebrate her birthday.

When you live in a smaller town, you keep a list of things you want to do when you do go somewhere bigger. Our daughter is living that now. One of her goals was to visit her hairdresser. The hairdresser came down with Covid and cancelled. This means our daughter isn’t coming and will have to reschedule.

I get it. She’s a young woman making her own way out there, and even the gasoline has to be accounted for. I would reschedule things myself in her place.

That left me with available time, so I used it to write. I’m in a tough transitional part of my story, so it was slow going.

My main character, James, has to give up everything and step into a new role. I tried to show a few emotions, but probably didn’t dive deep enough into that. Project for later.

I moved James inland to get involved in the land war. He’s separated from his son, who is MIA, but he has to go.

Transitions are part of every story, but I find them difficult. The words don’t flow quite as well as they do in the exciting parts. It came to just over 1800 words today.

Now that he’s relocated, it’s time to review all available intelligence. That will move to making plans, and things tend to pick up from there. The last line for today involved him hearing a rumor about Serang and her army. Some of this has to happen before all the characters can converge once more.

Saturday is looking like a writing day, too. Things might move faster since I put the work in today. I still have to figure out what to do with the root monsters. They’re with James, but can’t steal from his allies. I’m sure there is some kind of mischief they can get into along the way.

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Bad day for Fulminites

I’ve been working toward this scene for a long time. I knew the writing would go fast, but that usually means it needs repairs. I’ll do what I can on that front later.

Serang reached the Fulminite temple with her army. This place wasn’t quite the pushover some of her previous battle were. They stacked the deck as best as possible, but those Black Assassins are rough.

Then there was the High Detonator, who Serang faced alone. I like the way this scene played out, because she snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. (Stealing an old World of Sports line)

I also enjoyed the final appearance of the Fu Dogs. I got a bit emotional writing it, but that’s nothing new. (Who knows, I may decide I need them one more time as the rest of this tale unfolds. It really feels like the end for them.)

There is also a bit where Serang has to do a bit of soul searching. (While drunk, as is her way.) I want to go back over that to make it perfect. It involves the realization that she was born of the great temple purge, and she just did the same thing to the Fulminites. The temple purging has driven her entire life, and now she has to face this.

I also actually used onomatopoeia in one place. I’ve added some graphics to The Hat series before, but nothing quite like this. I think it works, but there is plenty of time to think it over.

I’d like to get more words out of this, but action scenes shouldn’t be long drawn out affairs. Yes, it was a city wide battle. I followed Serang, and readers will have to assume other fighting was going on at the same time.

Grand total today was 3500 words. That includes the opening volley, fighting in the streets, the one-on-one battle, plus dealing with Fu Dogs and Serang’s drinking binge. Somehow I thought all this would fill chapters, but it feels right as is.

Next up is Serang getting over herself, then making plans, and delivering a speech to the peasants. I want that to come off like a big deal.

What’s your thought on action scenes? I think they need to be short. I could make this more of a battlefront with several action scenes, punctuated by reflective sections, but I don’t think it needs it. Serang is still a hero, and on her worst day she still kicks ass.

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Unexpected progress

This is my short weekend, and my wife is off at the same time. I never really expected any writing progress, so I’m pleasantly surprised.

I have a tree I need to prune and we wanted to check out a new restaurant while we still had some Biden Bucks in our account.

Old What’s Her Face insisted we hit the restaurant at 11:00, because it’s so new. A big lunch will require us to skip dinner, but it turned out to be a pretty good idea. When arrived, there was already a line down the sidewalk.

The place is called Sid’s Garage, and it’s a burger joint, but a really upscale burger joint. I had something called the Jekyll & Hyde burger. (Really, how could I pass up something with that name.) It had a grilled peach atop a Wagyu beef patty. It was wonderful.

We shared a basket of Parmesan truffle fries, and a small plate of flash fried deviled eggs. I’ve never even heard of something like this. They’re like the love child of deviled eggs and Scotch eggs.

They also have fancy milkshakes. It’s to early for beer, so I went for one that was peach and pralines with a bit of bourbon maple flavor to it. It looked like this. Oh yeah, there was a crumble of candied bacon on top.

I mentioned writing, so here’s that brief. I never planned on writing. Somehow, I wound up closing myself into an alternate room before lunch and tearing into my project. Before it was time to get ready, I dealt with moving Lanternfish into position for the big battle.

After a bunch of orders and prep, it was time for the cannon to roar and a whole new kind of trouble to face my crew. Exploding monks made an appearance, but I had to stop just before Mal pulled one of his witch doctor shenanigans to benefit the war effort.

I’m telling you, things were really working for me this morning. It came to 2500 words and I feel like I could have doubled that given the time.

Sometimes, you have to spend time with your wife and chow down on something incredibly bad for you. With that kind of word count, I think today was a big win all around.

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Happy with my output

Sundays are usually wasted days for me. As an example, I always call my parents on Sundays. We chat for about an hour, and I won’t sacrifice this time for anything.

Old What’s Her Face is also off today, so that means distractions and noise. She’s had the Harry Potter marathon on since last night and it started again first thing this morning. As much as I love these films, I’ve seen them hundreds of times and wanted something else.

I decided to go into another room and pick at my WIP. I also tried an experiment with dubious results. I’ll experiment a bit more, then it could lead to a post for Story Empire one day. It involves ambient noise while I write.

It started off with me monkeying with Alexa one day. There wasn’t a lot of choice there, but Staci Troilo set me up with an amazing site. I tried it today, but the noise goes off as soon as my phone darkens. This led me to YouTube, and that was more functional. The trick is to pick something and not get caught up surfing for several hours.

I settled upon two different “songs” for lack of a better term. One involved a peaceful meadow, the other was designed for inside a tomb.

The meadow is where I started writing, and I like what I came up with. Serang found the ruined city as planned in my storyboard. She uncovered the secrets I plotted out, but how she went about it was magical.

She’s discovered the lost temple of the Cartomancers. The one that was burned in the history of a previous war. This gives me a great tie back to the original Lanternfish book, and it works because we’re back on the original continent.

It turns out there is still one hidden storeroom that was not destroyed in the first war. Serang uncovered this by playing her flute. She noticed that a semi-circle of standing stones were placed in exactly the same configuration as the holes on her flute.

Musical stones are a real thing, so mine work as a kind of lithophone when someone grinds on them. This lithophone required multiple people, but it opened a hidden door to a small treasure trove of the intellectual variety.

It gives me a great tie back to Mule, his parents, and even the goblins who used to live in these lands. I’ll be circling back to this in the denouement phase of the story.

I also spent extra time to detail this area. This is a special place and so I added some fantasy creatures and details to make that apparent. I created linen birds, a ribbon bird, and even a clown spider. The spider also took Serang back to her youth when orchid mantises were fascinating to young monks. (Orchid mantises are also real.)

It only came to 2500 words, but I really like them. I need to go over it several times, but at least they exist. Wreck of the Lanternfish is about 32,000 words right now. I mention this, because it needs a big denouement. Both James and Serang have a couple of gigantic things to accomplish and I’m getting closer to those. My married cons have one big one to pull off, but it isn’t on par with the others. (Important to the story, though.)

I should probably wrap the war up somewhere between 50,000 and 60,000 words. That will give me plenty of room to change the world and give everyone’s favorites a conclusion of some kind.

I’m sorely tempted to go back in my cave and write more, but I’m off tomorrow. I’ll start my day by going over what I just produced. There is an opportunity to drag out the discovery and that could be helpful. Best to look with fresh eyes.

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