Tag Archives: research

A bit more work

I’m still editing. It’s mostly boring work, but I am seeing things that need repair. I find editing tedious, and that means it doesn’t make good blog fodder either. I’ll suffice to say all three manuscripts are up to chapter 11, then leave it there.

Today, I used my headphone with some YouTube playlists. I really like this option, but the advertisements are a nightmare. There are probably some without ads, but I haven’t been lucky enough to find them. I have one that’s instrumental blues, one that’s called samurai warrior music, and one I’ve been saving. It’s all the spaghetti western music by Ennio Morricone. I’m open to hints as to where I can find ad-free versions of long playlists. I don’t mind one up front, or even the occasional peppering. One (in the middle) of every song is too much.

One thing I never mention is that I research constantly. Some things make it to my storyboards, others are simply notes to tuck away.

I learned something about LIDAR. This is kind of like radar, but it’s been used to discover lost civilizations in the rain forest and other places. I have a story way in the future that will need this information.

I need a name for a group of celebrity ghost hunters. They’re going to be obstacles for Lizzie and the hat sometime this Spring. I’m having no luck, but the best I came up with is The Four Clairs. (Meaning Clairvoyance, clairaudience, clairsentience, and claircognizance.) I’m not thrilled with it, but might run with it.

Technetium is another discovery. It’s a radioactive, rare earth, material. I doubt it’s truly dangerous, but I can still write it that way. My idea involves aliens, and it’s way in the future. This one only has a sheet of notes. There isn’t even a storyboard yet, but I think there will be. I like the ideas I’m getting for this one.

I’ve also been looking up images of Alfred E. Neuman. It’s for a gag in one of the upcoming hat stories. Even some of the humor needs a bit of research.

Maybe this is one of my secrets. I have things developing all the time. Some of them will never get there. When I’m ready for a project, I usually have something pretty close to jump on.

I haven’t shared a Pinterest Board for a while, and some of you seem to enjoy them. I create these things for inspiration. Sometimes I return to them for ideas about creatures, settings, characters, and more. Not usually for main characters, but supporting things. Let’s go for one of the big ones today. This is my Fantasy Board https://pin.it/1JYU7Vm

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A little writing

It’s nothing earth shattering, but it all counts. I’ve managed around 5400 words in the last two days. I took this week off, mostly because I deserve it.

We didn’t do much of anything during the holiday other than watch the prequels to Yellowstone. I never had much interest in the main series, but Sam Elliot and Harrison Ford have some draw for me. These were good, and I’ll try to keep up with the Ford/Mirin version as the new episodes drop.

Old What’s Her Face returned to work yesterday, so I cracked open my manuscript. I only have Mari’s swamp story going right now and need another one to balance things out. I decided not to start something else until I finish this one.

Most of those new words came today. I’d stopped at a tough point to get going again, but muscled through it yesterday. Today I had one difficult trial for Mari to get through, but it blossomed into so much more that I had to keep going.

She wound up closing the gap on the men she’s following, but got trapped on a crumbling bridge at night. No food, no water, and no grazing for her animals. The bridge isn’t trustworthy in daylight, so it’s deadly at night.

For whatever reason, she took some injuries and I left her trying to heal up where the animals could drink and feed. I think it turned out to be a pretty decent section.

With holiday leave included, I don’t have to return to the office until next Tuesday. I might even be able to finish Mari’s story, but am not counting on that. This one needs a bigger denouement than some of my others and I’m not going to rush just to get done.

At some point, I’m going to have to do some serious editing. I have the Space Chimp story, one for Lizzie and the hat, and Mari’s story that will need some attention.

This needs to get done, so that will be my task after I finish this draft.

I’m finding some neat things to include using Google Maps. This is a post apocalyptic tale, so ruins of those places can make it into my stories. I had her stop at the Stennis Space Center, but need to flesh it out a bit more.

There is a cool dinosaur park just ahead of her. The kind with a trail that has Dino-statues in the forest. It isn’t a day away from where she is so I might have to miss that one. Her mission won’t allow her to slow down and goof off without a good reason. She would pass it around noon and wouldn’t normally stop. Including it might feel kind of forced. I know of one thing that might work to include it, but need to sleep on that.

I’ll get back to the manhunt tomorrow.

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Distractions

I looked up from the roll-top desk in my paranormal office and sighed.

Lisa Burton, my robot personal assistant was lounged out on the couch. “What’s the matter?”

“I added fourteen-hundred words today and it looks like Lizzie’s story is going to come up a little short. I still have to add her big tantrum at the end, but the President and the courts are messing with me over that. I have no idea how student debt is going to play out.”

“Then make it up. You have the basis in fact that you’re always harping about.”

“I know, but I’m not completely in the swing again.”

“These are supposed to be short novels. They seem to be character driven, so you know, drive that.”

“I am. I keep thinking up junk for a story about three books down the line and just need to focus.”

“I’ve been your PA for enough years to know how it works. Just let it happen. You have a brand new book on the shelves and you can wrap this one up later. Go back to Mari’s story for a while.”

“I need to do that, too. There’s just this missing piece for the future storyboard I can’t quite get a grip on.”

“Maybe we can help.”

I snapped around so fast I nearly fell over.

                                                             Research Sirens

“I don’t have time for your antics right now.”

“Actually, you have nothing but time.” Libraria, the leggy blonde, took her time slowly leaning over the coffee table to put her books down.

Conversia slid into my easy chair, stretching her legs out full length of my ottoman. “Tell us about the problem. I’m sure you’re due for a break. Sounds like a decent word count already.

I wheeled my chair over. “I really want to write this Asian afterlife tale into the Hat Series, but there are some problems. I want to respect the differences between Japanese, Chinese, and other cultures, but I also kind of want a bit of all of them. If I explain that the afterlife has everyone all together, maybe I can get away with it.”

“What’s the story about?” Wiki turned her iPad mini my direction. “I can look some things up for you.”

“It’s the Chinese version of Armageddon. I’ve already discovered the lore from it. I want to steal some from Journey to the West and made some notes there.”

“I have a complete, unabridged version.” Libraria tapped one of her books. “What seems to be the problem?”

“I also have a ghostly character who is Yakuza. That’s Japanese. Lizzie fights monsters, so I’ve been looking into Japanese monsters. Some Asian things are scary as hell, like the one whose head leaves it’s body at night and flies around with its entails trailing after it. All of them are big on demons, too, so I need to consider some of that. I also don’t want the same old thing for Lizzie to deal with and have other characters to consider.”

“I think you should take a tour of Asia,” Conversia said. “Just the Pacific coast. Talk to some of these people. I think you’ll find a lot already blends together, despite the source. There are a lot of variations as well, so you can meld and merge to your heart’s content.”

“You’ve been trying this for years. I’m not going on an extended trip with you.”

“We could make it fun.” Libraria practically sang the last word.

“Stop that. I’ve already pushed it back and another year isn’t going to kill me now. I have two books before that one. I just have to figure out how to—.”

“Why’d you push it back?” Wiki asked.

“Because I came up with another cool character, and it would be perfect to use him. His intro is in a different book, so it has to come first. Then I have to figure out how to write a musical competition show and not have one of the judges come across like Simon Cowell. It’s a chance for Lizzie’s band to climb out of the doldrums a bit.”

Wiki flipped her iPad around to display a creepy picture. “Jiangshi.”

“Gesundheit.”

“Not that. Jiangshi is also known as the hopping vampire. He hops because of rigor mortise, and sucks souls instead of blood. Some legends have it as more of a zombie. Lots of variables, so you can put your own spin on it. Cool stuff with vinegar, yellow paper, and something called Joss paper. He’s afraid of a rooster’s crow. Maybe she can fight these things.”

“My cool new character is actually a rooster. I can work with this.”

Libraria selected one of her tomes and started flipping through it. Stopping at Joss paper.

Conversia said, “Maybe I can set up a Zoom meeting with an actual Shaman for you. Do you speak Cantonese?”

Lisa stood up. “I’ll put on the coffee. I can tell where this afternoon is going.”

 

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A little better today

I’m definitely in the middle slog with Mari’s swamp story. I broke the 40,000 word mark by the time I quit and ended at a chapter. (Half a novel. Woo-hoo!)

This can’t be an action sequence, so there was a lot of training involved. Some of it quite brutal and she has bruises and scrapes everywhere. I also included a tiny bit of world building, but didn’t get too deep this far into the story.

I’ve reached the point where it’s time for her to pick up the trail once more. There are more clues to where the killers went in the next town, but she’s better prepared for what she’s seeking now.

Oddly enough, an old movie called Hannie Caulder came on the other night. There are some similarities to the story I’m telling, but I think mine is better. Of course, I don’t have access to Raquel Welch, but I like Mari and she’s doing just fine.

This is one of those stories where I could kill my main character in the last chapter and it would work out well. I’m sure it would be a stronger story because of that. I also know I’ll never actually do it.

I took one tiny break to Google wildflowers of the Florida Panhandle, for the sake of accuracy. This world is full of exotic creatures, because Florida is that way now. A few wildflowers help blend everything together.

There’s a pretty good chance I’ll pick up Lizzie and the hat the next time I take up the keyboard. This is a great point to leave Mari, and she even has a roof over her head this time.

While I already know what’s going to happen with all my stories, sometimes switching tales brings new ideas and thoughts.

I’d kind of like to have her cross the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge. It would take about eight days by ox and wagon from where she is now. This is because after an extended war and nationwide system failures, it makes for a decent struggle. Imagine trying to live off the land, but there is only a swamp and it’s below you, out of reach.

My research says this thing is eighteen miles long. I can stage it so there’s at least one uncomfortable and hungry night spent on the bridge. Fill it with holes from war damage, add a ton of ox, and it could be interesting. No area for grazing either, which could cause a critical delay if I come up with something. Weigh that against the odds of my spelling the damned thing correctly.

I’ll have to ponder it while moving the hat forward in his next adventure.

Hope everyone out there is having a great weekend.

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Too many windows

I generally only have one or two windows open at a time. Recently, it’s gotten kind of crazy. I’m working on two manuscripts at once, so when I find something interesting or informative, I currently leave that window open. Beats adding a bunch of bookmarks when I only need them temporarily.

Let’s take a look at them, just for a laugh.

Entertaining Stories – you are here.

Facts about Potassium Iodide – used for radiation poisoning

Google window -for saltwater taffy

Recipe – for saltwater taffy – vehicle for Potassium Iodide

Google translate – for English to Spanish

Biography site – about a lady named Madeleine Mellinger. I was looking for a cool name, but I like the history, too. Probably just call mine Mad Mellinger. She could be a little mad.

Google Window – how to make kombucha

Site – what is a SCOBY

Google window – culturing beer yeast

Biology site – toad trilling sounds

Site – yeast ranching

Google window – mother of vinegar

Site – Eastern diamondback rattlesnake

As I use data from these sites, I will close the windows. At that point, I usually add notes to my cast of characters, that way I will have a smaller, more pertinent, line or two about the subject.

It’s too many windows, but I intend to close a few of them over the upcoming holiday weekend.

It might surprise some of you to find that speculative authors also do a ton of research. I reserve the right to change some of it up, but want to know the basics before I do.

How many windows do you currently have open?

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Still Devious

Percy the Space Chimp got fed up with all the company and went to the kitchen. Presumably for coffee, but something told me he was going for a walk in the National Forest.

I texted Lisa. “See if you can get rid of, or distract, Conversia and Libraria. Wiki isn’t as old as they are and might not be as devious.”

No idea why it worked, but a tour of Lisa’s closet seemed to do the trick. I’m sure she could make a girlie museum out of that place someday.

I looked across at Wiki. “Got time for a couple of questions?”

She looked up from her iPad.

“I haven’t seen Lorelei around lately, but I keep getting ideas. Do you know what’s happened to her.”

“All the Muses got really busy with the lockdown. People were cooking, painting, all kinds of artsy things. Lorelei started working the night shift just to keep up. She’s been around. Have you woken up with fresh inspiration?”

“Several times.”

“See.” Wiki wrinkled her nose in smile.

“That’s another thing. I love your little smile. How do I describe it if I want one of my characters to do something similar?”

Wiki clicked away on her small iPad. “These days it’s often called a bunny smile. There’s a warning that it leads to bunny lines on the nose as someone ages. Maybe I should stop doing it.”

“Please don’t. It’s adorable. I don’t know where I’ll include it, but probably in the hat series. Don’t know if Joyeux DuPont fits into the next book, or not. Maybe the one with moths if I can figure something out for it.”

“What seems to be the problem?”

“So many problems. I don’t see how a moth would be all that dangerous. I just had a cool victim scene I wanted to use. There seems to be a complete lack of legends or deities that have anything to do with moths.”

Wiki slid over, then patted her beanbag. “Check this out. Calyptra moths have been known to exhibit vampirism. That’s real-world, and ought to be creepy enough for you.”

I sunk in beside her. “Wow! There’s even a North American species. Lizzie’s staked a lot of vampires, so I’m not sure just yet. Why can’t there be a demon or something from Aztec legend.”

She passed me her iPad again. “Check out this story. There’s a legend of The Killing Stone in Japan. It was said to contain an evil spirit known as the Nine Tailed Fox. Just recently, this rock split in half. What if the demon escaped?”

“How’s that help me? I can’t just send Lizzie to Japan.”

“I’m not a Muse, so you’ll have to figure some of it out. Why couldn’t it be a Native American shaman who trapped a demon in a stone. When it breaks, your demon could escape.”

“Huh! The hat lived through a lot of history, so he could explain some of it. I’m just stuck trying to work out all these problems. Moth monsters, the Kentucky Derby, gremlins, a talent competition. Some are going better than others. Lorelei has to have been invading my sleep.”

“Hmm, you’ll have to step your gremlins up for modern times. Lizzie lives in pseudo-St. Louis, right?”

“Yeah, but I never call it out, so I can make up my own streets and parks.”

“Good plan, but you know what is there? The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. They’re one of the major players in the spy game.”

“What do they do?”

“It’s like a warehouse of computer data involving satellite photos, maps, weather, all kinds of things. Gremlins can’t just chew on airplane cables these days and hold someone’s attention. Put them into those servers, and you might really have something.”

“That’s pretty good, and gives me something to think about.”

“There’s more. Look at this video. A guy is playing two saxophones at once. That ought to score some points with your talent judges.”

“Dang. It would, too. I can probably use that, but that story is years down the line.”

“Never too soon for research. I can get Conversia to take you to Japan and the Kentucky Derby. She likes people to get first-hand knowledge for their stories. Maybe interview a few old-timers. I’ll bet Libraria could help you learn Japanese so you could talk with them.”

“That’s the part I can’t do. I’d love to go gallivanting around for research, but I still have to hold down a job. It’s traditional research, or nothing.”

“Check out this Bugs Bunny cartoon. It has gremlins in it.”

I watched the video, and caught myself laughing even after all these years. “That’s awesome. Got any more?”

“Sure. How about some old Kentucky Derby footage?” She clicked away at her device. “Do you know the difference between a Muse and a Siren?”

“Don’t tell me there’s a video for that, too.”

“A Muse shows up to inspire you. A Siren’s job is to crash your career on the rocks of research. Did you get any writing done today?”

“Well, no…”

Wiki pointed at herself. “Siren.”

And there was the cute bunny smile.

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Filed under The Idea Mill, Writing

Something new to share

The word metrics aren’t that impressive today. It came across at a little over 1900 words. Let’s face it, those 5000 word days don’t happen very often.

I’m mostly posting to share some new artwork. I’ve threatened to have Sean Harrington prepare some artwork for the Research Sirens for a long time. They seem to show up at the writing cabin frequently, so I’m going to use the group poster today. He actually sent each one individually as well if I ever want to use them.

***

I got to the writing cabin early this morning. Temperatures have gotten into the seventies recently, but at 5:30 it’s still pretty cold. Percy the Space Chimp was asleep on the couch, so I had coffee in the kitchen with Lisa Burton my PA and robot girl.

“People loved the poster of my tagger girl over at John Howell’s place this week,” she said.

“See, I thought it was a poster of Hellpox.”

“Let’s face it. I’m the spokesmodel, and it’s always about me to a degree. Besides, readers love my shining personality.”

“That’s true, you always seem to make more sales than I do on these tours.”

“Good to know with my performance review looming.”

Percy wobbled in still wearing his flight suit. “Are we finally going to work on something today?” He poured himself a steaming cup.

“Yeah, but these are hard sections for me. I have to deal with the fall out from your relationship with Buffer, then set up some character growth for you.”

“That’s all crap. Plop me in a star fighter and let’s blow some shit up. Readers like that.”

“They do, but they also like to see you change over the course of the story. You’re defensive about people’s prejudices toward Space Chimps, but you have your own prejudices as well.”

“That’s what makes me charming. Isn’t it enough that you ratted me and Buffer out? Can’t you leave me something of myself?”

“The goal is to have you become a better person amid all the spying and warfare around you. I’m also about to reveal a cool plot twist involving your favorite comic, Agent Golden Gibbon. I just need to decide how the real world part of that is going to come across, then save some for the second book. The guy’s going to need a name, and a description and I have to look some of that up.” We all headed for the writing office.

I froze at the sight. My office had been invaded by the Research Sirens.

Research Sirens

“You really shouldn’t make a move without digging into your new character a bit.” Libraria dropped her book bag on my desk then parked herself in my lounge chair.

“Ugh! Not these chicks again,” Percy moaned.

Wiki patted the side of her beanbag, wrinkling her nose at him in a kind of smile.

“I don’t think Buffer would approve.” He sat beside her anyway.

Conversia guided me to the couch, then sat uncomfortably close. “What kind of character do you have in mind?”

“I’m thinking he’ll use a pen name for his comic, because he’s kind of a spy. I want that to reflect in the name he uses.”

Wiki typed away at her iPad mini. “Thesaurus indicates something like Supermole would work.”

“I can use that as a place-marker, gives him a bit of personality already. Change it later if something better comes along. Supermole writes this comic, but it gives clues as to terrorist events that haven’t happened yet. Leo figures it all out, which gives him a nice spot to shine.”

“What kind of alien will he be?” Lisa asked

“I thought it might be fun to have him be an actual gibbon. I’ve already sold the idea that Space Chimps exist, so why not?”

The sound of nylon on nylon held everyone’s attention as Libraria crossed her long legs. She dropped a huge book on the table before me. “There is some argument, but there appear to be about twenty species of gibbon alive today. Once you read this, you’ll have a better idea of what you need. Once you finish it, I have another one about the fossil record.”

Conversia leaned in until her Afro tickled my ear. “I still hold there’s great value in oral stories. They give a wonderful flavor to the history of gibbons. We can fly to the South Pacific so you can see wild gibbons, then interview the elders who live there for some of their stories.”

Wiki wrinkled her nose then turned her screen to show me a video. “Gibbons are the fastest arboreal animals in the world. Even faster than some birds as they swing tree to tree.”

“I have to use some of that. It would be kind of an adventure to add a chase scene that doesn’t involve cars. Maybe Percy here could swing after him.”

“Are you crazy, dude? I can’t keep up with that.”

“Keep it in mind. Maybe you can drive him to the Cicis for capture later on. First I need to decide how much of a role to give him.”

“I think he would be one of the good guys. Leo and I love Agent Golden Gibbon, and it would be fun to meet the creator.”

“All good ideas.” Conversia wrapped her toned arm around my shoulder. Her perfect manicure tapping over my heart. “I figure no more than six months in the jungle and you’ll have all the gibbon knowledge you need. I can use my recorder for the stories, then you can have Lisa make transcripts once we return home.”

“Look, girls. I appreciate the zest, but I only write fiction. I have to live in the real world, and they’re going to miss me at work if I leave for six months. I have to make some of this up as I go. Besides, Old What’s Her Face wouldn’t like me spending six months in a grass hut with three Sirens and a robot girl.”

“We’re harmless, mostly.” Conversia pressed her bosom into my side.

“You should still ground the story in reality,” Libraria cautioned.

“Okay, how do you feel about a trip to the Boise Zoo. Best I can do. They even have ice cream.”

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Filed under Muse, Writing

How to not get anything accomplished

I wound up at the writing cabin not really knowing what I was going to do. Lisa was ready in her spacesuit, and Percy the Space Chimp seemed excited.

I opened the project, which still needs a name. A transition scene forced me to take things a little slower. We managed around 200 words.

Lisa pinched the bridge of her nose. “You’re about to have company.”

“How do you know?” Percy asked.

She pointed at herself. “Robot girl. I’m patched into the doorbell camera.” Lisa headed for the door before they could ring.

I hoped beyond reason that Lisa could get rid of them. Maybe buy me a box of Girl Scout Cookies. Didn’t work out that way.

Consultia and Libraria barged into the room. They were followed by Wiki, who peeked around her sisters and wriggled her fingers.

“Oh, no! I have a project in the works. I don’t need the Research Sirens right now.”

Consultia, a stunning black girl in a scoop-necked dress, said, “I disagree. You have two hat stories in the can, and you’re working on a space opera that could take a couple of years.”

Blonde bombshell Libraria peered over her glasses. “You need something else brewing. Your fans are going to want something unique before the space opera is ready.”

Wiki pulled out her iPad Mini, touched an app, then a huge beanbag chair in the shape of a panda head appeared. As she flopped in the seat, her red A-line bob danced seductively. “I’m ready. What are we researching?”

“That’s a cool app,” Percy said.

Wiki wrinkled her nose, then patted the chair beside her for him to sit down.

Consultia put an arm around me. Hair from her huge ’do tickled my ear. “We should talk about Detroit.” She steered me toward the couch.

“It’s just a loose idea. All the abandoned homes and businesses might be the site for an adventure.”

Libraria leaned back on the couch, then crossed her legs over my lap, leaving one stiletto heel dangling. “Characters?”

“Well, I thought I might use junior high aged kids. A boy, and a mixed race girl to explore all the buildings.”

Wiki wrinkled her nose. “It could be like Indiana Jones, and the abandoned parts are their temples.”

“I like that. I’ll need a McGuffin of some kind.”

Libraria pulled a gigantic book from thin air. “The complete history of Detroit. After you finish it, I can find you some others.”

Wiki held up her iPad. “How about this court case. This couple stole all kinds of things from the National Archives. Your kids might go looking for stuff that was never recovered.”

Percy leaned over her shoulder for a look. “That was fast.”

“Sirens are magical beings.” Wiki handed him one of her friendship bracelets.

Conversia ran a manicured nail down my chest. “We should go to Detroit to see this with our own eyes. You’ll need foils of some kind, and we can visit street gangs, druggies, and politicians. I can lead a dialog amongst you so you can get all the data you need.”

“We could explore the Detroit music scene while we’re there,” I suggested.

Libraria glared over her frames. “Wrong story.”

“Okay, but how will this be one of my stories? I don’t see science fiction, fantasy, or paranormal fitting in here.”

Consultia said, “Something will come to you. We can stay in Detroit for a few months if we need. Maybe I can get you an appointment with the Nain Rouge.”

“Who?”

Percy shot to his feet. “Wait, wait, wait! What about my story? You can’t just abandon me.”

Lisa brought in coffee and mugs for everyone. “That’s their trap. They crash an author’s career on the rocks. Craig knows this.”

Wiki frumped. “Sounds kind of mean when you say it like that.”

Lisa put a hand on her hip. “We aren’t going to Detroit, and he’s not reading that huge book. In fact, we’re going back to the space opera and letting all this stew for a few months. There’s probably a story here, but he can’t go away forever to research mindless things you might throw in his path.”

Conversia let my head bounce across her bosom, landing in her lap. “Killjoy.”

“I like you girls. I really do, but he has to stay on task. He’ll think about it. I promise.”

Libraria swiveled her legs back to the floor. “I’m sure there’s a nice champagne brunch somewhere near a quality shoe store. Are you coming?”

Lisa looked at me as she fidgeted.

“Go ahead. I’ll hang out with Percy and we’ll see what we come up with.”

Squeee!” Lisa dashed from the room to change her clothes.

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Long Weekend

Like most of you, I had a long weekend. Old What’s Her Face had to work, so I wound up left to my own devices.

At one time, I talked about making sauerkraut again. She bought me some from the store. It isn’t the same concept, because I wanted to make it. It still made for a tasty supper with a Polska kielbasa. Might have to break down and make some anyway.

I worked on edits, and sent something to my crit group. They were all off this weekend, too. I never expected a rapid turn around, and I hope everyone had a good time. Since publication target is late winter, there is plenty of time.

That left me with my side project. I’ve gone over the first few chapters more than any others I’ve ever written. Right now, I’m pretty happy with them. I’m introducing main characters in two different locations, but they finally managed to come together before the weekend came to a close. We entered space, traveled across part of the galaxy, and committed an unintended murder. Now one of the characters has to run, and it’s reason enough for everyone to wind up on the same ship.

I’m going with five main characters since this is likely going to be a trilogy. Five, or thirty, main characters, depending on how you count the clones. It’s complicated. (You guys know how my imagination comes into play.)

As I get acquainted with the characters, some personalities are starting to develop. There have been a few crass remarks flung around. This might sound strange, but I always have an idea of who they are, but as they interact on the page it develops more than I roughed out.

I managed a pretty good bit of emasculating dialog. I kind of like how it came out. Former lovers are something I’ve never written before.

All told, I probably added about 7000 new words to it. Can’t keep calling it “It,” but I don’t have a title yet.

The Muse is torturing me with this future story for Lizzie and the hat. I like to plan ahead, but this one is about five down the line. Seems a bit excessive, but I can’t seem to stop her once she starts inspiring. It involves a twist on some Asian mythos. Things like the afterlife, spirits, and reincarnation. I already have a list of magical artifacts and creatures going. I dedicated some time to research because it’s so interesting. I already have a few humorous things in mind, so that’s positive.

Outside of that, I have Asian pears running out my ears. I’ve been eating them all weekend. They keep pretty well, so I may have to claim part of the vegetable crisper. For now, I’m leaving them on the tree. Works for now, but isn’t a long term solution.

That’s about it. It’s time for supper, and some more Asian pears. Hope all of you enjoyed your weekend, too.

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Just a clicking away

I got to the writing cabin at a decent time this morning, then made my way to the paranormal office. I rolled the top of Patty Hall’s old-fashioned desk back, then opened my document.

Lisa Burton, my robotic personal assistant walked in.

Lisa Burton

“Ta-dah! Ready for work, Captain.”

“Yeah, um… We finished that one, remember.”

“You’re here to do edits, though, right?”

“I’m going to wait until August. Let it clear my mind a bit.”

“The raven of Doubt will be so disappointed. He’s been super excited to help you.”

“He can wait, too. I’ve been working on something for Lizzie and the hat. It’s fun, and keeps me busy.”

“Does he become a pirate hat?”

“No.”

“Great, then I have the wrong outfit. What should I be wearing?”

“Nothing special. I need some help with research, and you’re faster than I am.”

She took a seat on the couch. “Okay. What do you need?”

“Well, we’re back to witchcraft in this tale. Every one of the witches has a different base for their magic. I need you to find some things I can use.”

“Like elements and stuff?”

“Yeah, but not completely. There’s plant magic, death magic, weather magic. Maybe one can have art magic.”

“What about Lichtenberg marks?”

“What the hell are those?”

“People get these elaborate scars when they’ve been hit by lightning. They also show up in lawns, and even wood. Turn on your iPad and I’ll bring them up.”

“Those are cool. They almost have to be magical. I can work with that.”

A knock came at the front door. “Probably your Amazon guy. Get rid of him, and let’s go to work.” I flipped through the images while Lisa got the door.

When she returned, she had guests. Consultia, Libraria, and Wiki, the Research Sirens.

“Okay, I know you ladies are good, but I have words to write.”

“Nonsense words, if you don’t have some facts ready,” Consultia barged into the room. Her giant Afro bounced as she clacked across the floor, then sat on the couch, crossing her long legs.

Libraria followed in her sexy librarian garb, stacked her books on my coffee table, then took a seat on my desktop.

Red headed Wiki wiggled her fingers in hello, as she sat in the wing backed chair.

“If you want to know about Lichtenberg scars, let me set you up with some interviews. It would be best if you could see them in person, and consult with a doctor,” Conversia said.

“I can book us tickets to Congo,” Wiki said. “Lightning strikes there more than anyplace on Earth.”

“I can’t go to Congo. Besides, that’s dangerous.”

“How will you really know unless you experience some of these things?” Libraria asked. “The smell of ozone, the explosive feel.”

“All I need are the scars. I don’t intend to write a lightning storm.”

“We might find a fulgurite,” Wiki said.

“What’s that?”

“It’s a stone configuration left behind after a lightning strike.” Libraria opened one of her books. “See.”

“Those are cool. I can use those in the story.”

Wiki looked at her iPad Mini. “If you’re willing to fly on standby, I can get some good rates.” She turned it around and held it by the Pop Cap on the back as if I could see that far.

“All five of us?”

“You and Lisa,” Conversia said. “We have other methods and can meet you there.”

“I know your tricks. Lure unsuspecting authors onto the rocks of research so they don’t get anything accomplished. I write fiction. It has to be plausible in the story world, not factual. You’d have me so far down the rabbit hole I’d never come out.”

Libraria looked over her glasses, and my heart stopped. She leaned over and kissed my forehead leaving me with a face-full of cleavage. “But it’s such a sweet rabbit hole.”

“Uh-huh. Whatever you—”

Lisa snapped her fingers in my face. “Come out of it. You know their tricks, but they can be helpful. Just focus on what you need.”

“What I need is something written by a guy named Cotton Mather. He’s like the patron saint of a group—”

Libraria returned to her books and selected a gigantic tome. “I brought his entire collected works. You should read all of it, so you have a better understanding, and can choose the best part.”

“How did you know I’d want— Nevermind.” I flipped through the pages. “Oh, Hell no. I need to base something off his words. My readers would shoot me if I wrote like this.”

Conversia leaned forward in her scoop-necked dress. Tiny bits of glitter flashed in the light against her ebony skin. “It was a long time ago, and people were pretty flowery back then. I know three historians who can give you a real feel for his time and role back then. Maybe even a trip to Williamsburg.”

I closed my eyes and calmed myself. “I’m writing about Lizzie and the hat again. I only need references to a few things, and a snippet or two. It’s their story, not his. They are outside observers to this world, so they don’t need to know how everything works.”

Wiki turned her iPad around once more. “He had silly hair.” She wrinkled her nose in an adorable silent laugh.

“You can stay, and you can help, but I’m giving Lisa total control. If it goes too far, she pulls the plug. I don’t have months to fly all over the world for something that might be two lines in my fiction. Even though you are fun company. Agreed?”

Libraria slid into my lap and leaned her head on my shoulder. “Agreed. Shall we get to work?”

***

Needless to say, today wasn’t one of those word-count giants. I did learn some fun things that will show up in Good Liniment.

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Filed under Muse, Writing