Tag Archives: reading

Chipping Away

Mom and Dad had date night, and we got pumpkin hats.

I chipped away at my task list. I have a couple of Lisa interviews ready to go, but I’m holding off on which one to post. I’m waiting for purchase data for a book. I don’t have to decide until tomorrow, so I’ve gone as far as I can.

I successfully ignored The Hat. Stepping away is always better for the editing process.

All of my critique work is finished. I printed everything today and put them in my truck for our meeting Tuesday. I got down to the last few pieces of paper yesterday, printed the submissions out, and then learned my print heads needed cleaning. I had to throw them away and shop for paper. We swung by Fred Meyer after date night and all is well.

We ran a few errands, and even picked up some dog toys. We’re still picking up things like those undermats that keep the rugs from sliding around. After we finished my son and I logged a few hours of Borderlands. My character got a cool new sniper rifle that lights its victims on fire, and she got a new head too. Seriously, I don’t write this stuff. You get heads and bodies from a vending machine as a kind of upgrade.

In a way, it’s too bad the real world doesn’t work this way. I could insert my credit card and grow a foot taller. Then I wouldn’t be overweight.

When we re-upped with Direct TV, we were given a year of the NFL League Pass for free. We watched the game last week, but this week it’s not on. We probably need to call them, but were denied the ability to watch. My internet indicates the Steelers won, so there’s that. I might get to check out some baseball later today.

I say might, because Old What’s Her Face is binge watching The Outlander. While Outlander is on, I retreated to another room and started reading A Desolate Hour. It seems to take me forever to read a book these days, but I’m committed. Great story so far.

I also wrote a couple of future blog posts. When the Muse visits, it’s best to give in to her. Not kidding here, she gets violent.

I still haven’t gotten back to the edits on Yak Guy. Tomorrow is my best chance, but it’s dependent upon whether my daughter decides to talk my ear off.

So I chipped away at the task list. Some projects are complete, some on hold, and others yet to come. Maybe tomorrow will let me scratch them all off.

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I’m back home

We had a seminar that got us to noon, then we were free to come home. It was cold and rainy when we loaded the car, but the ten inches of predicted snow overnight never happened. We pulled out and one of my compadres asked about lunch. I said, “How about West Yellowstone?”

I wanted to put some miles behind me, and could have happily driven all the way to Boise without stopping except for gas. That isn’t how it works when traveling with a crowd, but West Yellowstone won out. At least I got about 30 miles down.

West Yellowstone is one of my favorite places. If one of my books ever takes off, or we win the lottery, I could happily rent a cabin there for the summer. I’m sure plenty of good stories could be written from there too. I had a buffalo burger, because that’s what one does there. I prefer the buffalo steak, but it was lunchtime.

There was a downside. We were only slightly ahead of the real storm. This was September 15th after we left.

It kind of reminds me of my morel mushroom hunt on June 10th, which looked like this.
A three month summer sounds about right to me but: SPRING AND FALL ARE SUPPOSED TO BOOKEND IT! Not friggin winter.

I want my autumn. It’s my favorite time of the year. I want my leaves and pumpkin beer. I want my cool nights with the window open. I want all the flies to die lonely cold deaths.

Enough of that. It’s time for some weekend goals.

  • I have to stop looking at The Hat and let it ferment for a while.
  • I want to read at least two books before I start writing again. Might as well start this weekend.
  • Print out two submissions and work up critiques for my group.
  • Work on edits for Yak Guy. This is a long process, but I have all day Monday.
  • Date night, Steelers game, Diamondbacks game, craft beer.
  • Keep cranking on Lisa’s interviews.

I won’t make the list too long, because some of these will take more time than simple blog updates. As far as blogs go, I missed reading some of yours. I drove most of the day and part of the night; that’s my excuse. I’ll surf back through, but some are going to get missed.

I have my next Story Empire post scheduled, and had an idea about a follow up post. The pending one is about starting a story. A fair idea came to me while driving, that starting in media res would be a good follow up. It also occurred to me that I can use Cat Ballou as a reference most folks will understand. Might have to find a more recent movie for younger readers. I’ll do a bit of research and see if I can make a post that includes Hanoi Jane fun somehow. Maybe there’s a YouTube video with Stubby Kaye and Nat King Cole.

That’s the update and the plan. I’m home, and it’s time to get started.

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Checking in

I'm here at the Best Western in Moscow, Idaho. A rather concrete looking motel, if I do say so. Still, my presentation takes place here tomorrow, so that's handy.

I left at about 5:30 this morning and made good time. The Payette River canyon was pretty lonely, which almost never happens. It was early, and wednesday, so that helps. Saw a coyote and two herds of whitetail deer along my route.

Dinner amounted to a sandwich and a platter of Gorgonzola fries. The fries were wonderful. They also have one of my favorite beers called Irish Death. I managed a couple of those.

Getting here early was kind of a bonus. I downloaded a book of my own choosing, and started reading it. This is a singularly rare event. It's been three years since I chose a book to read.

My reading is usually related to my obligations with the Rave Reviews Book Club, or something one of my friends has going on. I do a lot of advance reading, beta reading, and simply supporting friends. I've read some awesome books this way, but there's just something about choosing a book I want to read.

To give you an example, one of my friends has released three books already this year. I simply can't get to them all and continue writing. I have another friends' book in the queue, and I really am excited about this next one.

My current book is an old one, and it does a few annoying things, but I'm enjoying it. I have to remind myself that it's an older style, and I may even finish it tonight.

Tomorrow, I'll make my presentation at mid-day, then drive home. I don't have to return to the office until Monday, so I might get a chance to start writing my next project.

Tonight, I'm going to leave the television off, and curl back up with Dr. Syn, the Scarecrow of Romney Marsh.

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Do I need a plan?

I have three days off, and two of those will let me get some things done. I intended to monkey with some micro-fiction tonight, but didn't get that far.

The best I could manage was to change my wallpaper again. I like the speed racers, but the white Bonneville Salt Flat, mixed with the white page of my blog was too much for me. I cropped some of the sky out, and used a picture of the Sawtooth Mountains. This one may not be perfect, but I'm content with it.

My wife and I watched The Passengers on television tonight. I thought it was a wonderful movie. A little romance, a little science fiction, a bit of Titanic disaster. Good film.

I have a critique I need to work through, and that will take about fifteen minutes. I need to work up a couple more shticks for Lisa Burton Radio and send them out. Then I have a backlog of interview requests, but I have to keep the line moving too.

Beyond that, I want to write three micro-fiction pieces for October.

My main distraction is wanting to start one of my novellas. A blogger/author friend told me she wrangled 5000 words today. That's a tremendous day, and it calls to me to get started. I need to resist the call.

I committed to two October promotions this week. I haven't gotten any additional instructions, but will need to write something for those eventually.

Besides, I'm behind on my reading. I have at least three, possibly four books I need to read. If I resist the writing call for a couple of weeks, I may get a couple of those checked off.

It's a tough call to resist.

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Entertaining Stories – Unplugged

We got a last minute chance to make it a camping weekend. It happened with very little warning, but it's hard to pass up these opportunities.

I wanted to check out Bull Trout Lake, because I'd heard good things about it from someone else. Like all campgrounds under the Forest Circus, most of the sites are reservation only, with four or five going to first come – first served. We didn't show up fast enough.

That left us scrambling for a place to camp, and we grabbed the first decent spot we found. Turns out it was a very nice site, but too close to the highway for my tastes. The highway only gets light use, and seems to die down about bedtime.

This was my weekend office. I took a book, a manuscript that needs edited, and the idea for a short story along with me. I managed some reading and editing.

This was a wildlife dead zone for some reason. There were no birds, no squirrels, not even the typical morning deer visit. The camp was covered in some kind of sego lily though, and they were pretty.

There was a nice stream just beyond our campsite, and Otto was thrilled. He isn't much of a swimmer, but wading and drinking wild water is a big deal. Go Otto, it's the little things right, buddy.

Frankie wasn't too interested in the stream. She preferred sunrise with Dad while editing and reading.

She's lost that baby face, but doesn't quite look like an adult yet. She had a good time chewing up sticks and chasing her ball, but developed a “hot spot” underneath her harness. It will take a couple of days to dry that out.

We took a drive to Stanley on Saturday. Stanley is traditionally one of the coldest spots in North America. People only notice that in the winter, but it applies in the summer too. Most of the time, it's either Stanley, or Whitefish, Montana. There are times where it's colder in Stanley and Whitefish than in the arctic.

We went to check out Stanley Lake along the way. I've always wanted to camp there, and my wife wrote down the slot numbers for the best spaces. Maybe in February we'll reserve one of the good ones and not chance to luck. That's how far ahead you have to reserve a site.

We went on to Redfish Lake, because we had a great weekend there years ago. It's too damned busy now, and we'll be giving Redfish a pass. Beautiful, yes – soothing, no.

I stopped along the way and grabbed you a random tourist shot of the Sawtooth Mountains. Maybe you'll want to visit one day.

I got a lot of reading done. I made progress on the editing. Short stories just weren't possible.

I decided to watch the stars come out last night, and thought I might see a bat. Woods, plus stream, equals insects – which bats love. Nary a bat in sight. Not even a Black Butte Porter or two helped me focus enough see one. I did get a fun idea for a story I'm going to call Little Brown Bat. It will probably be a bit of micro-fiction and post on my blog.

I missed the whole blog, social media, projects aspect of the weekend, but that's kind of the point. Sometimes a guy just needs to unplug. It would defeat the purpose to try and make up for everything I missed. If you posted something I should see, please let me know. I like to support my fellow authors. Heaven forbid I missed something that pertained to me or one of my books, so drop me a line if that's the case.

Otherwise, I spent the weekend unplugged away from wifi and even cellular service, and I'm not going to work doubly hard to catch up with everything.

Hope all of you had great weekends too.

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The Editing Cabin???

Frankie did her pee pee dance about six o'clock this morning, so I rushed her outside. I fed her and Otto, then headed for the writing cabin.

The place is quiet and has been for some time. Doubt the raven isn't very good company, and I always feel like he's judging me about something. I fed Lisa's rabbit and flitted between projects.

I managed to assemble the next Lisa Burton Radio post, and contacted the author for the week after that. I did a lap through social media and email before putting my editing jacket on.

I managed four chapters, and it's amazing what you'll find when you put a project aside for a month or two. I never really put The Yak Guy aside for that long, but these are early chapters and I probably haven't looked at them for six months. I found a couple of sentences that didn't make a lick of sense, but they do now. I also found a word that was too modern for the setting. It was waterbag, which is what we used to carry on the survey trucks when I was a young man. I used the term waterskin throughout the book, and it's easy to see how I got it in there. It had to go, and I fixed it. Doubt glared at me as if I still didn't have it right.

I spent some time also reading four chapters of a book. My spare time is scarce, and it's either reading or something writing related. Today I decided to split my time between the two. That was until a rumble sounded across the forest and meadow.

I ran to the front porch and stared into the woods. Something distinctly red flashed between the trees.

Lisa Burton roared down the gravel road on her new/old motorcycle. She slid to a stop on the elevator at the end of the runway, then lowered everything into the basement.

I ran back inside to meet her at the top of the stairs when she came up. “It's good to have you home.”

“What's going on out here?”

“Just tending the animals and doing a bit of editing.”

“I can see that. How did you ever get that thing on anyway?”

“I don't know, just part of the magic at the writing cabin.”

“Did you manage to write something while I was away?”

“Not so much. I scratched out a Macabre Macaroni piece, but I don't know if I'll keep it. Maybe I should start calling it the editing cabin. There hasn't been much writing going on this year.”

“I'm sure there will be. Lorelei the Muse won't let you stagnate.”

“I'm sure. Looks like you bought yourself a new toy.”

“Oh yeah, isn't it pretty. I won enough money on the cruise ship to pay for it, and still have money left over. Wanna go for a ride?”

“Um, maybe later.”

“Okay, I'm going to unpack and visit my poor lonely Bunny.”

“Glad to have you back. I think your posters came out great this time.”

“They were nice, weren't they? I like my umpire one best. I looked serious and fierce in it.”

“You had a no nonsense look on your face, that's for sure. Um, Lisa?”

“What?”

“Turns out getting into my editing jacket is easier than getting out of it. Do you mind?”

“No problem, turn around and I'll untie your sleeves.”

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Dragon Ass

Okay, this isn't a post about dragons. It's a post about attitude. My regulars will understand how my mojo flew out the window this week, and it's only fair to give you a small update.

Our veterinarian and our favorite breeder both gave us a measure of comfort with our loss of little Nyx. The vet said that heat stroke should not have happened in thirty minutes. Not with her in a shaded back yard and access to water. He said that Nyx may have had some other problem that was not known and contributed to her death. The other dogs were out there too and were unscathed.

Thinking back on it, she was the one who sat on the air conditioner vent regularly. Maybe he's onto something.

The breeder said she's lost dogs to heat before, and our dogs' father is susceptible to heat problems. She thinks we're lovely people, and can't think of better pet owners. I appreciate her sentiments, but beyond the regular bulldog problems with heat, maybe this bloodline is more susceptible to heat problems.

There is the possibility that our son isn't telling us the whole truth either. Maybe it was more than thirty minutes. We were only gone two hours, and nyx was happily licking my ear before we left.

It could also be a hideous cocktail of those facts. At this point we know all we're ever going to know, and the assessments are not conclusive.

We're both devastated. My wife couldn't go to work on Wednesday, and I had to leave after about an hour and come home myself. We both regularly place a hand on our remaining dogs just to see if they're breathing. We had them both wearing wet bandanas yesterday, because even with the air conditioner and overhead fan, we couldn't get the house below seventy-eight degrees last night. (I almost put one on myself.)

Frankie is having a hard time too. She wouldn't eat the first day, and kept looking for her sister. We finally had to buy a new outer bowl, run the glass insert through the dishwasher, and then she ate just fine. The other stuff smelled like Nyx, and I'm sure that's what the problem was. She's needed some extra ball playing, and spent a lot of time in my lap this morning with what we call poodle time.

Otto is still convalescing himself. He has good days and bad days. We have another appointment to see what more we can do for him. It's some kind of pinched nerve like sciatica, and that's about all we know. He feels decent and wants to play, which leads to a tough night after the exertion.

I'm still waiting for a formatted manuscript. I'll publish The Enhanced League as soon as I get one, then I'll put out a call for blog hosts. I'm the one being difficult and demanding here, in case you're wondering.

Beyond that, I assembled and scheduled next week's Lisa Burton Radio post. I also moved another one ahead in the queue. I need to keep working on these, lest my volunteers think I'm blowing them off, but with twenty five applicants, it does no good to get them all ready at once.

I finally got around to changing my wallpaper. Since July is determined to be so hot, I thought heat was an appropriate theme. Heat has caused all the disasters around my life this week too.

I'm going to see if I can work up a couple more promotional posts for Enhanced League. I may have enough, but might find a decent excerpt to share somewhere and those make fun posts.

I need to catch up on some reading too. I don't know if my mood is great for that until I try. I have several books I want to get to and may take a shot at one.

I really need to get on with The Yak Guy Project, but have been putting it off. This is for a couple of selfish reasons. I don't want to get tangled up during the Enhanced League release, and I don't want to release a novel during the summer months. Releasing Enhanced League around Major League Baseball's Allstar Break might not be so bad.

So that's me this weekend. I'll get some things done, but I'm kind of draggin' ass at the moment. (Wow, I've always free written the blog, but I'm starting a lot of sentences with I today. I don't think I'll edit it either.)

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