Tag Archives: reading

So I missed a few things

Going on vacation will cause you to miss some things. I really didn't go through my reader while I was gone. I tried to read back, but you guys are pretty prolific.

In the real world, my friends do things outside my sight. We don't share every waking moment, so I choose to look at it like that. I will pick up my blog reading from this point on. If I missed something important, let me know and I'll try to get to it.

I hit it hard on Lisa Burton Radio today. I got one scheduled for Thursday, and worked on three others. I'm about two ahead, but Lisa always needs guests so don't be shy.

I read the children's book I tried to read on the airplane, and posted a nice review. The Big Cheese Festival has a nice message about bullying, and I can relate to it because of my grandchildren.

I grabbed a copy of Unseen Motives, by Joan Hall to read next. I really need to keep up on this stuff, but I feel like I'm getting caught up now.

While I was at Amazon, I decided to check my own progress and found a wonderful five star review of The Playground. Thank you, Don Massenzio, so glad you enjoyed it.

I have to go back to work tomorrow, so I may knock off for now. I may even play a video game.

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Why I’m not moving ahead

I read a post by one of my fellow Story Empire authors about things being seasonal, and it certainly reflects my writing career. I do most of my writing in the winter. I try to do book releases in the Fall, particularly if they have a paranormal angle. I’ve also released some in the Spring. Summer is for family things, and now they’re starting to clash.

This year, the seasons got away from me. Part of this has to do with taking on two books at once. I’ll own that. I need to tackle those beta edits and ship everything to my formatter. I just got the cover art for Yak Guy, and need to start working on it too. I’m trying to finish an ARC read for a friend, but there hasn’t been a lot of time. I’m also falling behind on my RRBC reading obligations.

This weekend, Old What’s Her Face and I are taking a mini vacation. This may seem contradictory to my predicament, but we kind of need this. I can do some research while I’m there, even if it’s just people watching. I’ll update you guys from the road if something cool comes along. I do okay with reading on airplanes, so maybe I can finish that book, and even write a review during a layover. (Optimistic, no?) There are some decent novellas and short story collections on RRBC, and two of my Story Empire friends have some I haven’t read yet. It’s kind of a cheat code, but a shorter work might help me meet my reading obligation.

As soon as we return from our mini vacation, my critique group meets. I only have one submission so far, but maybe I can work it up tonight. I can’t print on an airplane, so I hope the others show up soon.

The following weekend, my parents are coming to visit the puppies. Let’s be honest, that’s the real attraction. We always have a good time, and I understand the appeal of little puppies. The chance to get anything else done is almost nonexistent here.

One weekend after that, I learned yesterday, we have a campground reserved in the heart of morel mushroom territory. That weekend may have some hope, because I could do some things after dark. I don’t need wifi to read, or even to edit. Then again, I may go for a drink beside the campfire and just bag it.

Every spare second is pretty hectic right now. There was a line something like this over the weekend: “You watch the puppies, and I’ll go to the mall and get a second suitcase.”

“It’s only a couple of days. Do we really need a second one?”

“Ours will be packed, and we might want to buy something and need room to bring it home.”

Yeah, it seemed like a good way to avoid spending a bunch of cash on trinkets, but I lost that debate. Then there are all the mundane things that we would normally save for the weekend, picking up enough food so kids and dogs can eat while we’re absent, dry cleaning, choir performances by grandchildren, etc. It’s also medical season. I just had one checkup, and tomorrow I have an eye appointment. I’m going to try to cobble some of those “weekend” errands onto my trip to the eye doctor.

Besides all of this going on, there is sleep deprivation. Frankie and Nyx seem to want to sing the song of their people about 11:30 to midnight every night. They want up in the bed with us, but what they need is to go outside and potty. This requires me to pull on shorts and rush them outside before we have a failure on the carpet. Sometimes I win, sometimes I don’t.

After all these events pass, I hope to be close on The Enhanced League release. Yak Guy will take the next priority. After that, I need to get hopping on a short story for an anthology I was invited to contribute to. Then I need to start thinking about Macabre Macaroni stories for October. They don’t write themselves either, and I enjoy doing them.

So my theory is to do some reading on airplanes, with luck I can get caught up there. When I go camping, I might be able to work on some edits at night. I may have to take some vacation just to work myself out of this hole.

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A little bit behind

It's been trying around here. I usually get a small project finished in the evenings, but the house is chaos right now. If I open my blogging program, one of the puppies tries to mess on the floor. This requires me to jump up and address the problem. Then it usually requires me to play for fifteen minutes, darn it.

I have about three Lisa interviews to work on, and I must get one scheduled for next week. Puppies may be helpful in this regard. We've decided that one of us needs to stay with them, so we might be running individual errands for a while. With the arrival of nice weather, I can use the backyard furniture and slave away while the puppies get the run of the yard.

If I can get caught up on my commitments to others, I need to forge ahead on my reading. This is a commitment to a friend too, and this kind of task comes first.

Life won't work this well, but in a perfect world, I'll get to address my beta edits too. If I can catch up on the interviews and do some reading, I'll be content.

Our current situation also puts a damper on date night, but that's okay. There is a strong possibility that our daughter will babysit while we take a quick trip together next week. My fingers are crossed for that.

Otto has a little habit that we call poodle time. He likes to crawl up with me in the early mornings. With the arrival of his sisters, things are getting crowded. It's a lousy photo, but they had to move to the ottoman so everyone could fit.

Looks like a Bev Doolittle painting.

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Not Feeling It

I’m just not feeling it today. This isn’t an infrequent situation, to be completely honest. What I normally do is bull my way through and accomplish what I can anyway. I always have so much going on that I can’t afford a goof off day. Today I’m taking one, and that’s bad.

Here’s what I need to do this weekend:

  • Schedule a guest post I committed to. (This is simple, I just need to do it.)
  • Assemble and schedule next week’s Lisa Burton Radio.
  • I have two “radio” posts to get started on, which takes some time.
  • I have a book I need to keep reading.
  • After this gets finished, I need to start working on my own beta edits.

My daughter came home last night. She gave me an awesome haircut, and we had a nice visit. She also had some visit left in her this morning. I dedicated 100% of my time to her before she left.

I took today off, but it was for a checkup with Doctor Finger. It turned out to be a consultation, and I avoided the finger completely. It was a great report, and my PSA continues to drop. Still, between this and my daughter, half a day was shot. That contributes to my attitude a bit.

Tomorrow is dedicated to a different project. We have to drive to Burley and bring Frankie home. She had her final puppy appointment and weighs 10 pounds 1 ounce.

That shoots down tomorrow. Sundays are never all that productive. I’ve been watching a lot of baseball in the evenings too. I’ll probably continue this habit, with a puppy in my lap. Need to get to my task list in the mornings.

The good news is my flex day off is Monday. I can usually be productive on my flex day.

I won’t actually wait that long. I’ll chip away at things every day, and maybe the list will be smaller when Monday rolls around. What do you do when you’re just not feeling it?

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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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