Tag Archives: reading

A good flex day

Look at me, blogging on a Wednesday again. I had a productive flex day today.

I started out by working on chapters from two different complete manuscripts. A little here, and a little there, and they’re all getting done.

One of those involved sending a chapter out for critique, which is awesome. I learn so much by having other eyes glance at my material. It also makes it better for human consumption.

I decided to read three more chapters of a book. I don’t normally do that, but have kind of a secret weapon at my disposal now.

Speaking of the secret weapon, I also wrote and scheduled a blog post for Story Empire about it. It won’t come up until the 25th, but if I discover more about it, I have time to update the post.

I also rewrote about three existing chapters of my side project. I fell into the trap of giving things away too soon. I wanted to ramp up some mild tension, and if it’s going to be a trilogy I have time to do it right. They already existed, so it wasn’t like starting from scratch.

It probably needs even more tension in one part, but I’m struggling how to keep something secret and have a character act suspicious at the same time. I have time to figure it out.

I also added words to the side project, and it helped by introducing some new elements to be secretive about. Then there was a fun section that I’m pretty happy with.

I’m struggling with style for this new story. I have one character that wants to come across a bit too formal. Maybe this is from writing Serang for all those years. I keep going back and adding contractions, and softening her presentations.

Aliens are also a struggle. Creating alien species is not all that simple. Pretty much everything has been done unless you get into weird things that can’t communicate or interact.

I spent too much time with Google and Google translate trying to make up my own derogatory term. Eventually, I went with the classic. It can serve as a place-marker, or it might stay that way for good. I’m not overly fond of the word, but it does have impact.

I also have this thing lately for naked women in a couple of different tales. It’s intended to have an effect on the men around them, because the women don’t seem to care all that much. I don’t know that it’s exactly coming across that way. I’m not worried about it in Good Liniment, but might have to experiment more in this side project. It still needs a name, but I hope something will come along as I write it.

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Chipping away at things

I’ve mistreated this blog horribly this year. We haven’t done a lot in real life, so there hasn’t been much material there. I posted the zoo trip and wrote about my peaches when those opportunities presented themselves. Old What’s Her Face and I have been working opposing days for quite a while, so we aren’t together to do much lately.

As far as being an author, I worked on a few things. I picked through my critiques and made quite a few adjustments to the last chapter I shared. I feel good about the results.

I finished reading a book and posted the review for it. I’m considering diving into something else tomorrow. I have a hankering for some science fiction and have two different books in mind.

I also went ahead and started a new project. Authors write. That’s what we do, and it’s what I enjoy the most. I’m calling this a side project. It almost demands to be a trilogy. Lessons learned from Lanternfish indicate that I should finish the whole thing before trying to publish it. This means it could be my side project for a few years.

There is a small struggle in that I want two different groups to come together somewhere around chapter three. The first one consists of a pair of disabled veterans and their unique perspective. I like the lady with the prosthetic tentacle and the space chimp. I want to gripe about the treatment of veterans and a bit of prejudice for the space chimp. He’s destined to be one of the bigger personalities in this found-family adventure.

I hacked some things out for them, but it only came to three pages. That isn’t enough for a chapter, so I need to give them more thought. I’m sure I could use more setting and that will help. Can’t hurt in chapter one to have more setting.

I think the second group will take me more words to get them on the page. (There are twenty-eight of them, or three depending upon how you count the clones.) Rather than jump ahead, I’ll dwell on the first pair and see what I can come up with.

This is the beauty of being ahead of schedule. I have time to dabble with this stuff until it makes me happy. Hopefully, it will make someone else happy, too… eventually.

Tomorrow, I will dedicate a bit of time to Lanternfish. I need to keep that moving ahead for 2021 publication.

I also have a loose plan for some October promo, but am waiting for a small amount of data to start creating that. There are a couple of months, so it will happen whenever it does.

There you have it. Life in the fast lane for an author. Say hello in the comments. Life gets stale when left to my own devices.

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Consider this an extra

I admit to getting fairly lax about updating Entertaining Stories in the last year. Let’s face it, 2020 didn’t leave us much to talk about. Everything that happened in my life happened in yours, too.

As we step into 2020 things are trying to improve. The goal of this blog has always been writing related, so let’s start there.

Yesterday I found some writing time. This is the regrouping phase of the big Lanternfish battle. A lot happened, and nobody knows all of it. Visitors showed up in the aftermath and helped spell some of it out. James spent a bit of time looking in on his wounded, and with the visitors’ help, they set some new goals.

He managed to overlook his missing son. I still need to address this from his POV somehow. I sent Mule and Yoshiko on an ill-advised quest to recover Mule’s knife. This is the haunted knife from Giapon with a mind of its own. When I ended, they were following a trail of murder and mayhem across the battlefield. I didn’t do too much, and only added enough to get started next time. Whatever it came to didn’t match the huge word count of Friday.

After that, Old What’s Her Face and I decided to go someplace to eat. It’s payday weekend, so it’s nice to have a slice of our former lives. It didn’t amount to anything fancy, but it’s Lobsterfest at Red Lobster. We had a nice dinner, then went home.

After supper, we watched Falcon and the Winter Soldier as far as they’ve been released. It’s interesting so far. Secondary characters trying to carry a story and it’s functional.

We also managed to watch Kong vs Godzilla on Friday night, and I really liked it. Could have done without all that hollow Earth crap, but I liked the film. Adventure galore, but they swung and missed on the traditional messages. Godzilla was always about an environmental warning, and Kong had this tragic emotional thing going on. They tried with some kind of high-tech weapon and a tiny deaf girl, but it just didn’t work. Let’s face it, it’s geared toward them beating the crap out of each other and it accomplishes that.

Somewhere in the midst of everything else, I managed to edit one chapter of Lunar Boogie. I should be doing more, but there it is.

Today, I frittered around with social media after talking to my parents. I determined to do something and went into an alternate room. There was writing time, the possibility of editing, but I decided to read instead. I don’t do enough reading, so it feels productive to me. (First third of a new novel in one shot is pretty good for my reading.)

It was a good weekend. I got the chance to be productive and balanced that with some real life.

I get a Wednesday flex day this week and have it earmarked for more Lanternfish. Other than that, it’s back to work in the real world.

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Running out of steam

Old What’s Her Face went to Nevada again. It’s just me and the dogs this weekend. My brother-in-law and his wife moved into their new house, and they’re throwing sod this weekend.

Dog sitting duty hasn’t been that hard, so I tried to use my time wisely. I’ve been mostly blogging all day.

That means sending out letters with proposed dates for tour hosts, then writing their posts as they respond. I still have one more to prepare and will try to do that before I call it a night.

I also marked up a critique sample for one of my group members and sent it out. I like to turn them around fast whenever possible. I only have weekends to work on things and others might be in that boat, too.

Somewhere in the middle of all that, I wrote and scheduled my next Story Empire post. I spent far too much time monkeying around with the block editor, but I need to do that. It looks like it’s here to stay and being curmudgeonly about it isn’t going to help me.

I know the original editor wasn’t exactly self explanatory either and I messed with it for a long time before I found the things I actually use. I never did figure out what that tool that looks like a highway stripe actually does.

Somewhere between waiting on email, and writing posts, I snitched a little reading time. I’m not the proficient reader I was as a youngster, and take frequent breaks. I’m enjoying some quality time to dive into a good book, but I have to do it my way. Eye fatigue is part of the issue.

It got cold here overnight and I actually ran the gas fireplace to take the edge off. I spent about two hours watching the temperature parked at 58 degrees, then decided it wasn’t actually going to warm up. They promised us some rain today, but it only drizzled for a short while. I hope it was enough to settle some of this smoke. It feels like it helped.

Old What’s Her Face comes home tomorrow, and Monday is a holiday. It’s smart for me to accomplish all I can today. It’s relatively calm, but I’m starting to burn out. Maybe, after that last post is sent off, I’ll try to find something on television. I’m in the mood for something Halloween related, but not a slasher.

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I owe you a post

During my downtime, there hasn’t been a lot to blog about. I’ve worked on promo and shared that here. The one time we got to go out I shared that with you. Sometimes life is just boring.

I paid the bills this morning and we’re already broke. That isn’t anything new around here. The skies have been so smokey it even affects my voice. Even the dogs are snotty right now.

We were promised rain, but only got around three drops. There was lightning, but it didn’t cause any problems in my locale.

I’m still trotting out the Friday teasers. Only one Friday left in September, then it’s time to publish. I’m hoping my last new Lisa Burton poster arrives in time, but if it doesn’t I’ll trot out an older Lisa poster along with a fun song.

I have a few blog things I need to finalize, or start, for appearances elsewhere. The first one involves getting a link to my new book. Timing is going to be important on this one.

Ultimately, I’ll start asking people to host me along the promotion trail, but not yet. I’ve fallen into the habit of writing tour posts as needed. Back when I pre-wrote a bunch of tour posts I also tended to get even more aggressive with my tours. This is both good and bad. It runs me ragged, but I may accomplish more, too. This time, it’s going to be the more leisurely couple of posts per week, and I can write them as needed. Some hosts have specific interested on their blogs and I can address those this way.

I failed on my reading goals this weekend. I feel bad about it, but our daughter came for a visit. Family comes first, now and always.

Old What’s Her Face is going to Nevada next weekend. That leaves me to watch the dogs, and there should be plenty of reading opportunities. I added an index card to one of my storyboards. That one is years down the road, but the board is coming along nicely.

Honestly, not a lot of interesting stuff happening right now. I’m okay with it, and kind of enjoying it if I’m being honest. Promo will start up soon, then I’ll start drafting a new book and things will pick up around here once more.

I hope you’re all being safe out there. Every corner of the country seems to have some kind of crap to deal with right now, and that’s beyond the universal crap of C-19.

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Shifting gears.

It wasn’t part of my long term plans, but I’m going to take a kind of break. This doesn’t mean I’m not writing, It just means I won’t be drafting new stories right now.

This morning I finished the draft for The Ballad of Mrs. Molony. I’m debating a couple more paragraphs, but don’t know if they’re necessary.

This story involves Lizzie and the hat in pursuit of a pair of rodeo cowboys. These guys are now members of the undead. This allows the band, Lizzie and the Pythons, to explore country music as part of catching the bad guys. Made for some cool outfits and hat styles, too.

Lizzie has a small melt-down over the music. At the end she returns to more familiar ground. I could add a couple of paragraphs to show how they weave in some country songs without compromising what they like. Or I could leave it out.

I’m calling it finished, regardless of what I decide. I need to work up some blog ideas for the books, work with my cover artist, decide if I’m spending any promo money, but I doubt it. Think about formatting. Oh yeah, I’m going to need some of those silly graphics to put in Mrs. Molony so as to keep with the theme.

I’m going to be storyboarding, too. The final Lanternfish is going to require a storyboard. I have two novels full of information that I have to stay faithful to. There are a bunch of loose ideas for the finale. A board helps me mold all that into a decent story.

I think next year’s Hat story could benefit from a storyboard, too. I want this one to be more grim with an undertone of sadness, while still keeping the humor going. Not an easy task. It’s my intention to break Lizzie mentally toward the end of the next one. That will lead into another one that has a lot going on including a revisit with the witching community.

Aside from that, I have some stand alone novels that are already in the early phases of storyboards. I should probably hold off on these until Lanternfish is complete.

There’s also reading. I haven’t taken a serious reading break for a long time and there is a lot I want to catch up on. I also have a bit of a blog makeover in mind.

Honestly, if I can get Lanternfish out this summer, then Mrs. Molony for the Halloween season, I will have met my yearly goals. If I don’t write another word this year, I’m in pretty good shape.

Just because I’m not working on a draft does not mean I’m not working. We’re going camping this weekend. I’ll probably do some reading while I’m up there.

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Under the Weather

I felt it coming on all weekend, made an effort to drink more water, and even chugged down some orange juice. It didn’t change much.

I’ve called in to work twice now, and that bugs the crap out of me. I’m not swamped currently, but miss a couple of days and I could be.

Right now, I’m drowning in my own gravy. Any productivity is dead and will stay that way until this cold leaves.

I might try to do some reading. It all depends on this sinus headache.

Speaking of reading, there is an excellent series on sale right now. At 99¢ per title, the Hode’s Hill series is a steal. I’ve read it, and recommend it highly. You can learn more over at Mae Clair’s place by following this link.

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In the mood for murder

Mom told me weeks ago that someone kept sending a bill for me to my old house. She bundled one of them up and forwarded it. It’s from a company called KingSize – a FULLBEAUTY brand.

I’ve never even heard of this company, and am not likely to order beauty products of any kind. Some of us are beautiful enough.

I called them today and had to play whack-a-mole with the answering service. You know the game where you have to press a button based upon several suggestions. I had to go six layers deep before I got placed on hold. I was on hold for over thirty minutes. Something like this makes a guy feel kind of stabby before even talking to someone.

The lady in the fraud department was helpful after I finally got through, and it sounds as if she’s going to take care of it. (I did not actually throw her from the roof.)

The funny thing is that I haven’t lived at that address for twenty years. They told me the phone number associated with the account is an Idaho number, but wouldn’t give me any more than the last four digits. Probably so I don’t murder someone.

That kind of thing tends to put a damper on a flex day. I wanted to accomplish something, so I opened up HMS Lanternfish.

I already have a quarter of a novel, so I just read it from the beginning. There were some major errors, so I’m glad I did. This had to do with a name I keep getting wrong. There was also a timeline I messed up. This involved a seven month timeframe that I started calling a two month timeframe for some unknown reason.

Note: I need long timeframes here, because we’re dealing with tall ships. They don’t move quite as fast as airlines, even with magical help.

What I have is good, and I’m glad I spent the time to get back into it. I never added a single word, but I’ll be ready when the opportunity presents itself. That might be a couple of weeks, just knowing what’s ahead of me. The next event takes some planning, so a few silent commutes can help with that process.

We have errands this coming weekend, then family is coming to town. If I get any writing time, it’s going to be pretty sparse.

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Small updates

I still have tool problems, but those are all solved tonight. This is my way of saying I’ll have to finish my tree pruning tomorrow. At least everything is in order now, and I should make short work of the remainder. Even have a fresh saw blade now.

I spent some serious time with the Lanternfish project. Beginnings are always tough, and this one is tougher because it’s the second book in a trilogy. In reality, it takes time to stock a ship and man her. In fiction, I could just glance off that and set sail. I think a better option for me is to merge some of this. It comes across a bit more realistically, but they’ll get moving in a better time frame.

To keep things interesting, there are some root monster antics. While the pirates are making ready, the monsters have some assignments to deal with. This is going to force me to tone them down for a spell later on. I believe the little guys are better in small doses. It’s the “leave ’em wanting more” theory in action.

As soon as we hit the open sea, I have a fantasy creature I’m going to weave in. This will also serve as a bit of foreshadowing, so bonus there. There is also going to be an enemy waiting for them, so I can get right to some adventure after taking time to get underway.

It came in at about 3500 words today. Since there were no new words yesterday, I’m behind on my target of 20,000 words during my vacation.

I also read that book I’ve been getting to. I gave The Scout: Dark Crossings, by D. L. Cross five stars. D. L. Cross is actually Staci Troilo. This is a short story that stands alone in her Invasion series. I’ve read the first novel too, and loved it.

My suggestion is to read The Scout. It only takes a half-hour or so, and I think you’ll like it. If you like it, there is a whole series in this setting. I’ll be reading the whole thing.

Tomorrow is the day I call my parents, so some of my morning will be dedicated to that. Pruning trees will fit in well with that timetable. I don’t know if I can check in with Lanternfish, but it could happen.

I always want more, but my task-list is getting checked off a bit here and there.

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Did a lot, but…

Today was my flex day and I had a pretty good list of projects. This was the list:

  • Editing on Serang
  • Work up three small critique sections
  • Send out the shtick for a new Lisa Burton Radio show
  • Read more of a fantastic novel

I got a lot done, but never got all the way to reading.

I started with the interview shtick and got it out the door. This author is looking for a mid July date so I have plenty of time to schedule and get it assembled once it’s in my hands.

The critiques are important to me. When you’re in a crit group, those people are there for you and you have to be there for them. I scratched this off the list.

When it came to Serang, I changed a few minor wordings, and one sentence that made no reasonable sense at all. Funny how those things still manage to slip through at this late hour. I never got all the way through the MS, so this one remains on my weekend list.

When it comes to the weekend, my slate is pretty clear. I can get all the way through Serang, then dedicate my time to reading. I don’t have to start on The Viral Blues edits yet, so if I get that far it’s a bonus.

I also have my next Expansion Pack roughed out for Story Empire. I’m not up again for a while, so I have time to spiff it up. I like to schedule them one ahead, so I might even deal with that in the evenings. Blogging doesn’t quite seem to demand the concentration the other projects do.

The expansion packs are doing okay, but I’d like to see them do better. These are the helpful ideas I have right now, so I’m not moving on until that well dries up.

All told, it was a productive day. I’d like to have done more, but really can’t complain. Back to the office tomorrow.

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