Tag Archives: reading

Ah, Spring…

Ah Spring, the grass is green and we've even cut it once. The birds are singing, my fruit trees are all in bloom with honeybees visiting the blossoms. And the, what the f—?

Must be Idaho. Nice time to burn some vacation leave and enjoy Spring.

Seriously, I took some time off to work on projects. I've been fairly productive so far. I finished reading a book and posted a review. I worked on three different shticks for Lisa Burton Radio and sent all those out. I even managed to start my beta reading project. I seriously believe that if you want the benefit of beta readers, you have to provide the benefit of beta reading to others.

I'm feeling pretty comfortable with my reading at this point, but I also promised another friend an ARC read. I don't have to return to work until Tuesday, so I could get more done than I originally hoped.

Between these projects, I pecked away at my own post for the Rave Reviews Book Club party, and managed to get it scheduled too. I also got my next Story Empire post scheduled. That should buy me a bit of time.

If I get back to my own writing, The Yak Guy Project will be front and center. I want to finish that manuscript so I can park it for a few weeks. During that time, I can do my edits of The Enhanced League. Doubt the raven is waiting to tear my soul apart over that book, and he's been patient this time.

Enhanced League has a cover, and I'm waiting to finish the promotional art so I can take it on tour. That's at least a month down the road, but I'm planning ahead. I need to get it to beta readers before I can tour it around. Beta readers need time to deliver their mark-ups, and you can't rush this part.

After all that, I'll think about a cover for Yak Guy and start the process all over again.

I've been adding the occasional note to my storyboards for two novellas and my next novel. These are mostly organized chaos right now. Plenty of time to polish them up after my books are published.

I may just turn a corner and blog ahead this weekend. I'd like to have a couple of things ready for Chris Graham, I can hold them in case I get one of the books published. When the time gets closer, I can either say something about the new book, or send one of the prewritten pieces. I also have several new ideas for Story Empire that I may rough out.

Tonight, I'm kind of pooped out. If I do anything else, I'll go back to beta reading. That's highest in priority right now.

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And I’ll never have that plan again.

I took a vacation day today to finish a couple of projects. While the bookmobile tour was on, there were still projects that needed tending.

My truck needed to be serviced, so I made the first appointment of the day – 7:30 AM. I decided not to change my alarm clock, and left it like any regular work day at 4:00.

I have a party post to write for the Rave Reviews Book Club's month long blog party. I also have a couple of fresh new Lisa Burton Radio posts to work up. I decided to route home past Staples to buy some shipping boxes. I'm going to be giving away a couple more coffee mugs during my party stop, so I decided to buy extras.

There is also a book I want to finish reading. Besides that, I promised a friend a beta read, and another friend an ARC read with the intent of a review. I only mention this to illustrate that I need to kick it in gear. New writing has come to a standstill, but manuscripts don't spoil. They'll be there when I get back.

My whole life seems like one broken plan after another, and today was no exception. After enough broken plans a guy gets experience at dealing with it somehow. The only smart thing I did was to take my iPad with me to the dealership.

Turns out, my truck was overdue for several odd pieces of maintenance. You know the ones I'm talking about; flush the brakes, power steering, etc. They were available to do it right then and there. The desk kid said it would take another two hours. He was wrong, it was more like three.

I managed to finish Type & Cross, by Staci Troilo, while I waited. I left her a five star review about an hour into my wait. Staci did a fabulous job on this book, and I recommend it to all of you. Tell me if I'm unique here, but as an author, I tend to read more critically these days. I intend it as a compliment to her writing that I haven't been so absorbed in a book in years.

Hey, not just the finished book, but the review too. I still had hours to wait, but didn't know that at the time.

The dealership had absolutely terrible wifi. This seems to be a trend with businesses, and I don't understand it. It's like they offer it, because everyone else is offering it, but it feels cheap not to have it functional. It can't cost them any more to have good wifi, but it feels that way. Some commercial wifi will not function with email either, and this was one of them. I wound up linking to my phone's signal and working that way.

Never underestimate the hours that correspondence and social media takes either. This involves trying to support those who support me on Twitter, Facebook, and others. Eventually, I moved on and managed a partial shtick for one of the radio interviews. By pigtailing into my phone, I got it sent to the author too.

That's about it. I should have worked up the other Lisa Burton interview. I could have started my RRBC post, but I just didn't.

I stayed up until midnight playing video games with my son, then got up at 4:00. Quite honestly, I ran out of gas.

When I left the dealership, I headed for Staples to get my shipping boxes. About half way there, I realized I'd forgotten my coffee cup. This is one of those metal thermos style cups, and I didn't want to abandon it. I called the dealership and they promised to hold it for me. I decided to go to Staples and loop back for it.

Things are spread out in Boise, and I wound up spending a lot of time on Eagle Road. Eagle Road is always bumper to bumper, and the loop was about twenty miles. I pulled into the garage at about one o'clock this afternoon.

Funny thing, the last time I had my truck serviced, I left the exact same coffee cup and had to loop back for it. Maybe I should buy one of those belt loop things to keep track of it.

At the paycheck job every single day is like that. I commute while forming a plan of attack. By the time I boot up my computer that plan is out the window. It really stresses me out, and I think it's part of the reason I have high blood pressure. When it comes to my vacation time it's intolerable.

One of the things I try to do is avoid days like this in my writing career. The only deadlines are the ones I set. I vow not to start another manuscript after I finish Yak Guy. The Enhanced League has a cover and promotional posters are in the works. I need to edit, seek betas, make adjustments, and get it out the door. Yak Guy is right on its heels. The realistic time to start the next project seems like once those books are available on Amazon.

I give you permission to kick my butt if I post about writing The Hat prior to that time.

I have the two promised reads to get through, and I'll start the beta project right away. After that, I need to read some things of my own choosing. Every book I've read for nearly two years has been something for a friend and supporter. They support me – I support them, that's how it's supposed to work. I fear the day when I have to say no. Does anyone else out there struggle with that?

So here I am, updating my blog while watching a baseball game. The Diamondbacks look like they're in trouble this time, but I took great glee in seeing them in first place this morning. That hasn't happened in years, and it's probably fleeting, but it felt nice. I think I'll take my own Lisa Burton mug, make some grandfather style tea, and start formulating a plan for those two blog projects.

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A little of this, a little of that.

There has been a different kind of content here on Entertaining Stories lately. It isn't that my well ran dry, it's that I've been getting invites. If someone generously wants to support me, the least I can do is reblog and try to drive them a bit of traffic. Let's face it, many of my followers are authors and they should be saving those sites in a folder somewhere for the times they need a bit of support.

Next week is going to be different around here too. I'm participating in a fun blog tour that I helped to create. I'll be hosting the other Story Empire authors while they host me. You'll have the chance to learn about some awesome new books, with deep discounts or free days, and there will be prizes. I'm pretty excited about the ones I'm giving out, but you'll learn more about them tomorrow. It's going to be a lot of fun, so come along for the ride.

While we're doing this, there will still be original content on Story Empire, and I have the monday post in the rotation. In other words, I've been blogging while hosting friends, and being hosted by other friends, the posts just haven't been revealed yet.

My son and I have tickets to see Ghost in the Shell tomorrow. The advertisements look pretty awesome, and the source material was pretty popular. It sounds like the movie is getting terrible reviews, so I don't know what to expect. At least I get to hang out with my son, so that's kind of cool.

Last May, this little bundle of joy arrived at our house:

Otto was actually born on April First, which is kind of fitting after you get to know him.

He had a big first year. He got to wade in the Pacific Ocean, went on multiple camping trips, and had a long-standing battle with plastic water bottles. I'm writing this post in bursts, because he keeps shoving his ball onto my keyboard.

Today, this is what he looks like:

Not the best picture, but he doesn't stand still very long, and it's the best I could do.

If you look behind him, you'll see his gingerbread man, his big lizard, and his rope toy. Not a latex toy in sight.

We were warned about bulldogs and latex allergies. We bought him a glass food and water dish set on the day he arrived, just for this reason.

His absolute favorite toys are the plastic ones. His chin broke out with nasty pustules, and I took them all away. I still have his ladybug ring, several rubber balls, and the last rubber bone that still squeaks.

Over the course of several days, everything seems to have cleared up for him. I feel bad about it, but I may have to get rid of those toys that have latex.

It's odd that it wasn't a problem for a year, but that is kind of how allergies work. It's all fine until it isn't, then they never go away.

Otto tends to go at everything full speed ahead. He plays hard, then he crashes hard. In the time it took to write this post, we played ball for 45 minutes, and my wife participated too. Then he crashed. I'll sneak up and see if I can actually get one more photo:

Gotcha.

My flex day is Monday next week, and that's perfect. I can monitor comments on the first day of our big tour, along with those at Story Empire, and I may even finish my reading. (The same reading I was supposed to finish before April arrived.)

So happy April Fool's Day, happy birthday to Otto, and I hope all of you have a great weekend.

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The weekend… ends

I don't have much of a progress report. After the trip to Shoshone Falls, we turned Saturday into an errand kind of day. Pretty mundane lifestyle things mostly.

We had date night at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. The food is always great, but I always think I could have gotten two steaks elsewhere for the same price.

Today, I finally got around to my reading. I spent several hours getting past the halfway point of a very good book. My eyes got too tired to go on, or I would have. Reading has to be a priority for me now. I have my RRBC club goal to meet for this quarter, plus I accepted a beta reading project and an ARC for review project that I need to finish before May.

I still have Yak Guy waiting around for me, and the delay brought me some clarity on his journey. I know what to do to reach the conclusion. I simply need to find the time to bring it all together. Since I don't have a publisher breathing down my neck, it has to wait for higher priority projects.

I did a bunch of blog work today too. My cohorts over at Story Empire and I have a promotional push going on soon. I think it's going to be a good event, but all the work has to happen ahead of time.

Beyond that, I ordered a cover for The Enhanced League and three new Lisa Burton posters to help me promote it. Once I get a break, I'll start the editing process. It is possible to have it available by the end of school. I'm still hung up on summer releases, and may hold it back until fall if it takes that long. Some of you might be able to convince me that summer releases are okay, but I think some genres are better suited to it than others.

Time for The Walking Dead, then I have to turn in early. Four AM comes around pretty early.

So, how was your weekend? Did you do fun things? Did you make progress on your projects? What do you think about summer releases?

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Partial project day

Today was dedicated to finishing tasks. Some were started, some weren't, and I didn't get all the way through the list.

I need five posts for a promo I'm going to be doing. I still have two left to write, and those that exist need a little something too. Watch this space, and you may find some great deals on my books in the next couple of weeks. I blog about bulldogs, and movies, writing, and all kinds of things, but occasionally I need to mention that I have books to sell. “Hey, I have books to sell.”

The good news is that I don't return to the paycheck job until Tuesday. I have one more day to work on them.

I intended to do some reading today, but failed completely. We went to one of our favorite places last night, then I stayed up late playing video games with my son. Somehow, I forgot to plug in my iPad. No juice = no reading. I used what little juice remained to pay bills today, so I can scratch that off the list.

I dedicated my analog time to working on a critique. My crit group is on life support after several years. We're down to two members remaining, but we're meeting next week anyway. Part of the discussion will be about how to get new members. I don't know too many writers in the Boise area, but I'd really like to keep this going. I get different values from critique and beta readers. I want both.

While recharging, I found a movie. I said yesterday that Skull Island left me a little flat. Today, on cable, I watched Bridge of Spies, with Tom Hanks. This movie gave me more than I expected, and I would watch it again. I knew the story, but seeing it dramatized was well worth it. Great movie.

Tomorrow, I have to get my truck sniff tested. It's an absurd local regulation, but I have to do it. I may check my meds and try getting them refilled while I'm out. I need to write two more promo posts, and I'm going to read come hell or high water.

Next weekend brings the return of company, so no writing. I'm at a point in Yak Guy where I need to decide how much wandering around in the wilderness is acceptable. Too much will bore readers. I could work this toward the end, but it might wind up being a 70K word novel. In this modern era, maybe that is preferable. It's definitely preferable to boring readers with too much star gazing.

Talk to me here. Did you get a different vibe from Skull Island? Have you seen Bridge of Spies? Do you know any Boise area fiction authors who would like to join a critique group? Are you interested in some great book deals in the first week of April? How do you feel about novels on the short side of word count? How in the heck do you guys find time for your reading?

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What, shall we talk about?

I've been kind of quiet here lately. We had an awesome guest on Lisa's radio show, and I reblogged some things, but I have been notably absent. The fact is, I'm in kind of a mood. (The image should explain it.)

I had a brutal week at work. Oh wait, that should be spelled BRUTAL!!! With three exclamation points. It's one of those weeks that make you doubt your entire life since birth. Most of my followers are writers, so you might understand the desire to do meaningful work. A younger man might try something more satisfying, like pumping out septic tanks or working at a slaughterhouse. It's harder in your late fifties to jump ship.

I need to accept the rote tasks as my job, do as many of those as possible, and retire. Anything more meaningful tends to make me buy in and give it my all. My all isn't what's needed, or wanted, anymore.

We had a partial date night last night, and went to see Kong Skull Island. To be honest, it left me a little bit flat. I confess it may be my overall mood, so take this with the appropriate grain of salt. Kong was much more of a man in a monkey suit than he's ever been since 1933. He walks upright and occasionally thumps his chest to remind us he's a gorilla.

Skull Island doesn't have any dinosaurs, excepting the skull of one triceratops. There are a bunch of bone headed reptile things that crawl around on two arms, but no legs. Even so, it's an action film, and there is plenty of that.

What got me the most is the complete absence of the romantic element. I don't mean the relationship between the ape and the girl here, but there wasn't any of that either. I mean that Kong is a tragic character. He's supposed to scare you, then break your heart. The furthest this film got is telling us his whole family is dead. I still don't like the whole telling vs showing bit, but if there was ever an example this is it.

As far as writing goes, there isn't going to be any. I'm behind on other projects, and need to dedicate time to them. This includes some prewritten posts for others, and some reading obligations. I made a tiny little dent in that today, but that's it. I got the shtick out for a Lisa Burton Radio, and wrote one post that still needs some work.

The rest of the day was filled in by a repairman, and my grandkids. Between those bookends, my son and I played some more of our video game. That may be the best part of the week. The reading part might be satisfying too, but that can't happen until tomorrow at best.

Tonight, Old What's Her Face and I are going to try another partial date night. Enough partials adds up to a whole one eventually.

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Time Management

Being an author in this era seems to involve working on multiple projects at once. There are ruminations that lead to outlines. There is the drafting of new material. Promotion is also required. Maybe this is as simple as making a tweet or two, but some days it involves updating the blog, maybe writing some guest posts for someone.

In my case, I still owe The Storyreading Ape some posts. I have no less than four Lisa Burton Radio slots in the works. I'm working with Sean Harrington on some generic Lisa art that I can use for various purposes, and possibly recycle without making you tired of them. Then there is research for new projects, promo art for the next books, and some reading that I'm behind on.

The common denominator is time.

There's only so much of this stuff to go around, and when things pile up something has to give. Some of you may have noticed that I skipped blogging last night. I also have a life away from this iPad, and tend to neglect it a little too much.

One of the things I've learned… over time… is that I can't do it all at once. I've tried more times than I care to admit. This applies at the paycheck job too. What happens is that I get less done than I should have.

I can't get away with this at the paycheck job, and sometimes I have to move multiple projects at the same time. I'm the boss at Entertaining Stories though, and will have things my way here.

Dealing with multiple projects takes a certain amount of whining and hand wringing. (At least in my case. Ask my wife if you don't believe me.) Surprise, whining and hand wringing takes time away from things I should be doing.

I use task lists when it gets out of control. If I can keep it straight in my head, I don't bother to write it all down. Then I pick a project, put on the blinders and work on it until I'm finished.

There is a lot to be said for finishing something. It might be as simple as updating my pinned tweet, but the act of completion is like a Scooby Snack for me. I'm energized to take on the next thing.

I used my deplorable art skills to make an image for my pinned tweet and updated it. Some of you have already shared it. Hopefully, the art is good enough for the split second it takes to get the point across.

I worked on all four radio interviews, and got them back to the guest authors. There is more work to do, but I can do nothing until they trickle back in.

I started my beta reading project yesterday, and moved it ahead today. I have a document started with notes, and hopefully can help this book in some small way.

Another piece of Lisa art arrived last night, and I sent out the instructions for the next one. When it comes to blog art, I try to buy them four at a time. I can use another portrait too, and have a couple of ideas for the third one, it involves either a hairdo from the early 70s or one from 1900. Lisa likes to change things up. It's still planning and time.

I'm also collecting ideas for promotion of my next books. There are some Yak Guy things Lisa can do, and some baseball things for the other project.

I did not address my critiques, but they aren't as time sensitive. I also didn't draft anything beyond this blog. I might dabble with my outlines for an hour or two.

The point is that I have to put on my blinders and work exclusively on one thing at a time. I get more done that way. Right now the focus is on reading, but if I can complete something small (like Twitter) before or after reading, I can still accomplish things.

In the end, clearing my slate will give me more time for drafting new material as I move into February.

Right now, I picked up a giant bottle of beer, and a new tea I want to try. There is football to watch, and maybe game one will be tea, and game two will be beer.

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