Tag Archives: reading

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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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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