Tag Archives: reviews

A bit about Serang

I think some of you are suffering from tour fatigue, and I am, too. Between two books, it’s been a long process. I hope you’ll indulge me one last post about Serang, and it will be mine.

This time out, I offered my hosts either Lisa Burton or me. I asked my hosts what they would like for their readership, and I really enjoyed the challenges. I think the Serang tour posts were some of the best promo stuff I’ve ever written.

As fun as that was, there is always a downside. Lisa only got one taker, but I have two posters. Rather than shop for another host this week (Holiday week considered) I decided to take it myself.

Lisa Burton

This is Lisa, posing as Serang with her Fu dogs/lions. The female is covered with grey fur, and the male is bronze. Serang had these guys in Lanternfish, but we get a lot more information about them in Serang.

One of the things I’ve tried to do is not explain too much about certain things. Readers will get a bit of information about Fu cubs and parents. How they chose Serang, and more. I never answer the question completely about how she summons them in times of need.

Readers will see her touch her weapon to a jade pendant she wears, and the animals will appear. Whether this is a result of the pendant, her weapon, some combo, or the connection of Serang’s spirit with the otherworld – I never answer. This is on purpose. Not everything needs to be explained. Readers should have a tidbit to imagine for themselves.

The Fu themselves are formidable in battle, and I’ve already written them into HMS Lanternfish. They rub on her like cats, and when the male purrs it’s almost frightening.

Serang becomes identified with the Fu, and there is a bit more information, but I’m not going to spoil it for you.

That wraps my touring for a while. I’m tired and I think you are, too. Winter is coming and I need to read, and work on the next Lanternfish story.

Both Viral Blues and Serang sold fairly well. They could both use more reviews. Serang in particular is suffering on this front. If any of you are so inclined, it would mean a lot to me.

I’m not going to include the standard cover and blurb. You guys have seen it by now, and both covers in my sidebar are linked to Amazon.

Feel free to use Lisa and the Fu as your computer screens or add them to Pinterest as it suits you. If I get ambitious, I may create a pinned tweet using this poster, but the Viral Blues one is still up and relatively new.

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For my next amazing stunt…

My presentation went well, and my work week ended on a high note. The drive home was uneventful, and the wildlife all but disappeared.

I’m kind of a curmudgeon when it comes to technology. I go all in on things that interest me, but avoid other parts of it. I didn’t want to take the time pairing my phone with the company car, so I made both drives in total silence. When I take my truck, I usually have my Lizzie and The Hat playlist blasting.

Funny thing about those silent drives. This is when Lorelei the Muse joins me and we have great conversations. There is no set path, and we bounce from project to project. I came up with some neat ideas for the post-apocalyptic thing I have partially storyboarded. I have some root monster ideas for the next Lanternfish story, and may have partially solved a geographical problem I discovered. Even Lizzie and The Hat were topics and I have some ideas about them, too.

Old What’s Her Face has to work today, so I had a morning to myself. I spent the time finishing the draft of Grinders. I’m just shy of 77,000 words. I think that’s a good length for a modern-day stand-alone novel. I like the way it came out. Story threads wrapped up, and there is some hope for the future. Even the animals got a half page epilogue to give them some closure.

After the first draft of Grinders, I tried to read all the blogs I missed from my road-trip. I admit to not commenting everywhere, and some of you only got a “like” and a tweet. I’m not even going to try catching up on Twitter.

I’m sure there will be a session of paying those damned bills today. We might even squeeze in a date night of some kind.

I have a loose plan for the future, but am not committing to very much. Grinders needs to go into the fermenter for a while. I’ll probably read everything I have of HMS Lanternfish tomorrow. That will put me back in the right mindset, and help me add words when I get another flex day.

I owe a few people some reads, and may carve out time for that. Part of me wants to start another side project immediately, but it doesn’t feel right. I have a new story about Lizzie and The Hat that could fill that slot. Lanternfish has been patiently at anchor since September, and I need to move that project along. I promised a trilogy, and Serang will only keep people distracted for so long. I must release a Lanternfish story in 2020.

Serang seems to be doing well, but could always use more reviews. I never intended to push her as hard as Viral Blues, but a couple more tour posts wouldn’t hurt. Maybe I’ll dig through my list and see if there’s someone I haven’t bothered in a while to host me. I still have one fresh new Lisa Burton poster I haven’t revealed to anyone. I can use it here, but I like to send her to other sites.

My early thought is Lanternfish can fill the rest of 2019 quite well. I need to think about what kind of cover and artwork I want for Grinders, set the money aside, then contact Sean. If I do this right, it could be out at the end of Winter or early Spring. By only working on Lanternfish, I have time for budgeting, thinking, and planning out my 2020 goals.

I guess my next amazing stunt is to dial it down a bit. Lanternfish lets me keep a hand in, but there are other things on my horizon, too. Winter feels like the right time for this. Do any of you take a step back this time of year?

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Hard to pass up a good soapbox

This is a topic I’ve addressed before, but it’s timely once again. I’ll try to do it without spoilers, but it’s pretty rare air way up atop this box.

I may have addressed this on Story Empire, and it might have made a good topic over there. I don’t get a turn in the rotation for a while, so you get it here.

Regular readers will remember my post about fandoms who think they have the right to dictate the plots and character arcs in popular stories. At that time, it was all about Harry Potter. People crawled out of the woodwork to petition Rowling for what they wanted to see happen.

You might remember the campaigning, Harry + Hermione, Harry + Ron, how Voldemort would get his, Snape’s story arc, etc.

The Walking Dead got a bunch of this too.

Now we’re down to Game of Thrones. I’m irritated how everything went down, and I’m about to tell you why… without spoilers.

Readers/viewers are part of a compact. A story cannot be successful without them. An author can entertain himself to no end without any readers at all. However; when that story goes out for public consumption we strike a bargain with our readers.

We promise to deliver certain things, and a satisfactory ending is part of that. Some of the other things are genre specific, but can you imagine a murder mystery with no murder, with no mystery? A horror story without anything horrifying?

This doesn’t mean you have to have a “happily ever after” kind of ending either. There are plenty of super-famous tragedies out there.

Okay, now I’ve set the stage. While I’m pissed off over what they’re doing with Game of Thrones, I don’t believe I have any right to dictate or even suggest how the story will wrap up.

Right now there is a petition circulating to force HBO to rewrite, refilm, and air an alternate ending. This whole concept is absurd. Even if people get all the signatures they are seeking, HBO has no duty to honor the petition. This applies to the writers, directors, actors, etc.

This story belongs to the writers to screw up or wrap up as they see fit. My right is to like it or not. I have no right to dictate how it will wrap up, demand a happy ending, or a fan favorite hookup.

When people like my stories, some of them leave a positive review. On the rare occasion they are dissatisfied, they can leave a negative review. Viewers of GOT have the same rights. No more.

I’ll be there Sunday to see how it goes. I’ve invested eight years in this story, so I’m going to finish it. Then I’ll either like it… or not.

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Checking in today

Hi, Gang! The tour is going well. We’ve had some fun conversations along the way, and there are a few posts yet to come. I hope you don’t mind the reblogs. Entertaining Stories isn’t just about this blog, it’s also about publishing Entertaining Stories a couple of times per year. Publishing leads to promotion, even if that isn’t my favorite thing. If nothing else, every tour stop is unique, so it’s not a total waste of bandwidth.

The book is doing okay. Results could always be better, even when things are great. Early reviews aren’t just good, they’re downright encouraging. This will certainly help with sales. My sales usually involve a spike up front, then the slow-burn starts. This is because my regulars pick it up right away. (So grateful for my regulars.) The tour goes to sites my regulars host, but it allows me to reach their regulars, who sometimes are new to my work. That early spike got me as high as 108 in one of the fantasy categories on Amazon. It’s since dropped down, but it’s still encouraging. (Fantasy categories are a tough nut.)

One of my goals is to continually improve, and I think Lanternfish shows bits of improvement over my previous works. Reviewers will give me some hints to this.

My 2019 goal was to explore the idea of additional works in an already existing environment. I’m currently writing two different stories with that in mind. Eventually, I’ll have to park one of them and focus on the other, but I will finish both. One of these is a prequel for one of the supporting characters from Lanternfish. It seems to be taking on a different tone, and that’s because much of the “comedy relief” didn’t exist at the time of this tale. I’m pretty happy with how it’s coming out so far, even if it is more serious.

About that comedy relief, the root monsters are pretty popular. In fact, they won’t leave me alone. I formulated two new scenes for them during my commutes this week. This is how many of my stories take shape. In fact there are quite a few other scenes involving my pirate crew. There is a good chance of a sequel for Lanternfish too. I may start a storyboard this weekend.

I sent out samples of these new stories for critique, and am getting the results back. My main focus is going to be making improvements to what I’ve already written. I don’t have new fiction on my list at all. The next goal is reading. I’m jazzed to dive into End of Day, by Mae Clair. I don’t usually read sequels any more than I write them, but dang that first book was good.

Finally, I need to check the Story Empire schedule and figure out when I’m up next. I don’t want to drop the ball over there.

Doesn’t seem like much of a list for a holiday weekend. My time isn’t completely my own though. Old What’s Her Face is off too. Between the spaces, I’ll obsessively check blog comments along the tour stops. You guys know how much I like comments.

What do you have planned for your weekend? Do you make a task list, or take it as it comes?

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A little update

We cancelled our weekend camping trip, so we’re going to be sticking around the house this weekend. When I left my office, it was 100 degrees outside. The low country was pretty much that temperature. When I climbed up to the bench, it hit 106.

Bulldogs tip over and die at those temperatures. Our weekend would have been spent with wet towels, possibly dunking dogs in the lake, etc. That doesn’t sound like much of a camp out to me.

My plan is to write as much as possible. We might get a shot at date night since payday is in about five hours.

In other news, I created a BookBub account. People who are smarter than me said it’s the place to be, so now I am. I’m still figuring it all out, and it seems like a kinder gentler version of Goodreads.

I’m telling you this so you can all rush over there and check it out. I’ll need BookBub friends, and the extremely generous ones can post your reviews there too. Okay enough pimping my new location. Here is my BookBub Link. I’m open to any tips you guys have about finding my way around there.

New topic. Rosie’s Book Review Team has been extremely kind to me over the years. These wonderful ladies take a chance on my books and post honest reviews. I’m thrilled that those reviews have all been favorable.

If you’re an author, you need to know about this group. What better way to check out their site than to check out the five-star review Robbie Cheadle gave to The Yak Guy Project. I’ll be monitoring the comments and hope to see you there. Feel free to share the post on your various social media accounts.

Here is the link” Rosie’s Book Review Team.

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Writing hazards

I don’t play golf, but I know they have hazards on the course. There are sand traps and water hazards that can mess with your game. My writing days are full of hazards too.

The main one is my daughter. She likes to talk — a lot. She talks for hours about her job to the point where I feel like I was there with her on her shift. Today, she has a new topic though. Enter Jackson.

We’ve never owned a cat. In her entire life there has never been a cat. We’re dog people. They aren’t foreign to me, my mom had cats at various times. It’s something new to my daughter, and she’s really excited about it. I refuse to stop her chatter, and try to be a good dad. Things change and young adults have been known to move halfway across the country on short notice. We spent a lot of time letting the animals get used to each other.

My big concern is dogs and cats together. They get supervised time together and are doing really well with the situation. Otto wants to sniff him, but that’s about where his interest ends. Frankie is the one to watch. Jackson likes to sneak up on her and bonk her on the head.

I’m still being diligent, because Kipling taught me The Female of the Species is more Deadly than the Male. This certainly seems to hold true with my dogs. Otto is a big hugger and lover of all things. Frankie is psycho and I don’t completely trust her around Jackson.

After my daughter goes to work, and Jackson goes to her room, I get a chance to write new words. There is still the bulldog hazard, but I’ve gotten pretty good at writing around it.

This one is Frankie, and I can get an arm around her and still type. I can’t quite reach around Otto in the same fashion.

Still, all progress is good. I wound up with around 2500 new words on the day. Skulls were bashed, shackles were fitted, and the big abduction happened. Aside from this, an ugly fish bit one of the supporting characters. My next move will be to define the stakes for the characters, imprison the love interest, and force the men into a task they don’t want and are ill equipped for.

Unfortunately, my own servitude is calling. Tomorrow begins the work week for me, so it will be Saturday at minimum before I can write again.

In other news, I got three more nice reviews for The Hat over the weekend. People seem to really be enjoying it, and that’s like rocket fuel to my writer brain. I haven’t sold a copy in days, but there is lag time between purchases and reviews. Reviews can lead to sales, so I hope it keeps up a bit of momentum.

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Is it safe to come out yet?

Honestly, is there anyone out there who doesn't know I have a new book out? I've hit it hard over the last month or so on the promotional front. It takes time to write all those pieces. Then I have to organize my volunteer hosts, and participate in any comments we might get.

This is harder than it sounds, because I don't assign specific dates to the tour posts. I give the hosts some loose parameters, and live with what I get. I asked my hosts not to post on Thursdays, because Lisa Burton Radio is that day. My own guests deserve their day in the spotlight.

There were a couple of review posts that I didn't calculate into the mix, but I tried to support them too. I know there has been a lot of reblogging on my site through this phase. If I can benefit from my hosts' traffic, maybe they can benefit from some of mine too. It isn't much, but it feels polite to me.

Then there is the fact that all of the posts were unique. It wasn't like reading the same thing over and over. I also liked the Lisa Burton posters for this book. If you missed any of them, I included them as back of the book material. For 99ยข you can have all three of them.

The tour worked out well for mid summer. I moved about a dozen copies per day at first, and it's now trickled down to one per day. That may not sound like much, but that's all the promo I've done too. I was going to advertise on Facebook, but they've pissed me off lately. They push me to boost or advertise every single post I make. Let's face it, not every post is worth spending $20 on.

You authors out there would have met some wonderful supportive hosts if you went on the tour. Don't underestimate the value of knowing a few people like that. Someday you'll want to make a blog tour too, and there's no time like the present to make a few friends. I owe these hosts a lot, and you may see some of them over here from time to time.

I'm pretty happy as it stands now. Reviews are trickling in, and every book needs more. The point is that I have some. I got within three notches of one of the Amazon charts, but never did hit the top 100. It would have been great, but it could still happen. The Amazon machine is strange. Sell three or four in an hour and land a review on the same day and poof – top 100.

I'm checking for reviews a few times every day, but I'll calm down soon. I always have. The reviews have been positive, and that makes me very happy. This book was a risk in my mind, and those who took a chance seem to have enjoyed it.

Tomorrow I need to work on more Lisa Burton Radio posts. I have next week's post ready, I only need to assemble and schedule it. This isn't enough though. I also need to finalize the week after, and work up a couple more shticks.

I have some editing on my horizon too. Depending on how things go, I may even tackle some micro-fiction for October.

Hope you guys enjoyed the tour. Thanks for sticking with me through it, and thanks for reading and reviewing my newest book. There are more on the way.

Did you notice my restraint? No book title, no purchase link. If you're dying to know, scroll through my recent posts.

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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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Ready for the work week

My last day at the office was Wednesday. I have to go back tomorrow. Admittedly, I took this time off to pay my debt as an author. This might come as a surprise to many of you readers, but it will make sense to the authors out there. I'll try to give the rest of you a glimpse into the secret club today.

I need proofreaders, critique groups, beta readers, blog hosts, and reviews to make my books a success. There isn't a kind of shop where you can go get all of that. Being self published is often a matter of supporting your hobby without going too far into the hole. The big dream is to turn a profit someday.

The truth is you can pay for many of those services, but it gets kind of expensive after a while. This is why we all tend to help each other. At a bare minimum, we are a fresh set of eyes who can spot the difference between hear and here in a manuscript. It's hard to spot these kind of things in your own work. There are also times when we know exactly what we're describing, but readers aren't getting that vision. Different eyes will raise a red flag at these points.

I take advantage of this kind of help, so it's important to provide it in turn. We don't typically share project for project. It's more like a pool of authors who will do what they can – when they can. I rarely get the same people from project to project, but in the long run – they are the same group.

Most of my time off was spent paying my authorly debts. The rest was spent on other duties, just like at the workplace. I'm proud to say I finished my last authorly project at about 1:30 today. Then I hauled off all the fruit tree branches, and declared myself done.

I feel a bit like that guy at the top of the post, but I also feel pretty darned good about it. I got to read some awesome stories, some for a review, some as a beta reader.

The good news is that my metaphorical office is clear. On my next day off I can return to my own novel. I'm kind of excited about it to tell you the truth.

I'll spend the rest of the evening catching up with most of the blogs I neglected to read. After that, it's off to bed early enough to go to my workplace all fresh and ready for work.

One of these days I'll have to take some time off for the sake of time off. It could happen, someday.

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Keeping up with my blog responsibilities

The blog tour is off and running for the Second Experimental Notebook. You probably noticed the reblogs around here. I think it's important to support those who are supporting me. I will say that every stop on this tour is custom written, and not a simple post that is moving from site to site. I did that to keep it interesting, and also to show my hosts a degree of respect.

I've been circling back and participating in the comments on those posts, and will be doing that for the next couple of weeks.

I've noted here before how I think a blog is more than just a place to reblog whatever I find online. I owe it to my followers to produce some original content at the same time. While all of this has been going on, I have been keeping busy behind the scenes.

Like most weekends, I started with a task list. I won't bore you by typing it out again, but here is a selection of what I've worked on this weekend. I made my first post over at Story Empire. This is the collective effort I posted about a few days ago. The post is about my use of living documents, if you want to check it out.

I assembled and scheduled three posts for the next few days. There are so many authors in my circle with new books coming out it's pretty exciting. Some of them will be visiting here to tell us about their projects. I also worked on various passes of three different Lisa Burton Radio posts.

I got a couple of requests for review copies of the new book and got those sent out. Helen Jones, who is hosting me today, was the big winner of the blog party contest from last week. I figured out how to send her the Amazon Gift Card and got it sent out too.

Sean Harrington is sharing the other Lisa Burton poster on his DeviantArt site today. I think the world of this artist, and encourage you to visit him and check out his gallery. He's interested in doing more cover work, and is affordable and versatile.

My wife and I managed a simple date night at a new place we haven't tried before. Very nice experience at Barrel 55 on Eagle Road. They also had a pumpkin beer on tap, so happy happy. Part of date night involved a trip to the Boise Co-Op where I grabbed a few different pumpkin beers to try.

I made a tour through various social media, and shared things as appropriate. When I finished I wound up with a few hours to myself.

I opened up the short story I've been working on, and added a thousand words on Sunday. Today I finished it with about 1500 more words. This one is called Welcome to the Freak-Show, and came in at about 8600 words. This is on the long side of what I consider a short story, and I think there is room to make it bigger. This is part of my Enhanced League project about a baseball league that doesn't care about performance enhancing drugs. (Still debating the hyphen in the title.)

I also wrote another piece for this collection. It came in at 530 words. To tell you the truth, I don't know what it is. It's kind of a monologue where the speaker is talking to you. It isn't exactly second person point of view, but it's close. It's almost an anthem kind of piece, and I shudder to think it might be like spoken word poetry. I avoid poetry like the plague. I have no idea whether it will stay or go, or whether it has any merit at all. I almost need to have someone who doesn't know baseball check it out to see if it motivates or not. I will say that I heard Tommy Lasorda's voice repeating the words as I typed it.

I kind of want to write another one, but think I should do some editing on this one first. Not too bad, approximately 3000 words of new fiction, several blog posts, and a bunch of other work finished.

Aside from that, there was Otto play, and I picked some of my Asian Pears. They were green and bitter about ten days ago. They are so juicy and sweet today. In fact, I think I should go have another one right now.

I'll be supporting my hosts for the rest of this tour, and there will be a Lisa Burton Radio post this week. I also gathered enough info for another Idea Mill post. I may hold back on that until I get to the middle of the month.

There are five reviews on the New Experimental Notebook, and I hope to get some more by the end of this week. I probably don't have to tell you how important reviews are to authors. If you liked the Second Experimental Notebook, or any other author's book, a simple review means the world. Even if it only includes “I liked it” in the comments. This is because Amazon's machine doesn't read them, it only counts them up. When we get enough reviews, Amazon will push it out to more people.

It was a great weekend. It wasn't as busy and manic as the last one when I was trying to get the book out. I got to visit with more bloggers and even found a few hours to write. Back to the paycheck job tomorrow.

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