Tag Archives: root monsters

#NewBook Hoist the Colors, one more time…

I spent my weekend publishing “Wreck of the Lanternfish.” I swore this would come out in 2021, and now it has.

Amazon took it’s sweet time, and I ran into a few glitches along the way. For whatever reason, Apple decided to reduce the size of my cover when I save it. This led me to search back through a couple of thousand posts for Sean Harrington’s original mail to find an image the correct size. It seems Apple Mail does not have a search feature. My saved image at least tagged the date, and that helped a bit.

This led me to create a folder for Sean’s delivery emails. Since I was on a mission, I also dug out the cover for Good Liniment and saved it there, too.

It took a day to get through Amazon’s review, then a few more hours to publish, but it’s there now. Then it took even more time to attach to the series. I still haven’t seen the numbering sequence correct, but assume that’s coming. Voyage of the Lanternfish still shows as book one of two, instead of book one of three. At least the book is available now.

I also learned we can link other titles to the series without making them part of the series. This probably isn’t new, but it’s new to me. I updated Serang to populate when someone links to the trilogy.

While I was waiting, I gave Entertaining Stories a facelift. Some new wallpaper and the underwater banner image felt appropriate.

James Cuttler created a peaceful spot for he and his wife to settle down. Far from the war that ravages their homeland, far from the reputation he earned as the notorious pirate Captain Bloodwater, and far from responsibility.

A royal Prelonian houseguest is a constant reminder of what’s at stake half a world away, of the friends he put ashore to fight the war. He lives in a dream world that’s temporary, at best. It’s only a matter of time before his guest is identified and the black assassins come for her.

He mortgages his precious vineyard to pay for repairs to his ship. If nothing else, Lanternfish will be one of the most powerful ships in the war, if he’s not already too late.

James will have to merge the skills of commander and con man into something new to make this work. He’ll need to avoid those on his own side who would hang him for piracy.

Serang is half a world away, leading her army of mercinary swordsmen toward the Fulminites. Mistrusted by both sides of the war, she appears as a third combatant on the battlefield. She may eliminate the mysterious order, only to succumb to the demons of her own tragic past.

Strap on your swords and hoist the colors one more time as the thrilling Lanternfish Trilogy comes to an end.

Wreck of the Lanternfish purchase link

Trilogy link

****

I know many of you are reluctant to start a series until it concludes. If that was your concern, fear no more. I’ll be taking this book out on tour, but will wait until after Thanksgiving to start. It’s probably the worst time, since it’s not a Christmas story, but maybe some folks prefer to avoid Christmas stories. This is an alternative.

51 Comments

Filed under Writing

Yo ho ho, it’s a trilogy.

No real interruptions today. I made sure to follow my routine, and wound up making changes to existing material. I discovered that I’d gone over Mule and Yoshiko’s ending twice. Both were good material, but one seemed to fall in a better location. It’s odd for me to make a mistake like this, but I had to delete one section.

I also had to go back and add in a bit about Mal, the witch doctor. It wasn’t much, but he has fans and they will want to know how he wound up. He’s doing things on his terms, and I kind of like it that way.

I don’t mind telling you that I teared up at a few points. I know my characters are outrageous, but I designed them that way. Giving them a suitable ending was hard, but they all make sense. Readers will be left with a vision of the future for not only the characters, but the government in general.

Not everyone lived through this adventure. When there is a war, 100% survival seems unrealistic. That part was written months ago, but I worry about how it will be received.

Another concern is that a big part of this final adventure happens on land. I saw it as facing James’s weaknesses. He has to work where he is least comfortable to pull this off.

This yarn came in about 10,000 words shorter than the others. I am not worried about that. As the end of a trilogy, there is a bigger denouement, but I don’t want to drag it out either. In a classical sense, this is the one where you party with Ewoks.

The trilogy will end with plenty of cannonades, martial arts, a few con games, a haunted knife, and yes there are root monsters. I’m going to leave it in the fermenter for a month before I look at it again.

I don’t want to drop any spoilers, at least until I’m closer to publication. I’ve been sitting on the cover art for months, and thought perhaps you’d enjoy a sneak peek. It’s kind of a spoiler itself, but it’s too good not to share.

In other news, I spent last night creating a set of throwing bones that will make an appearance in the next Hat story. I may turn my attention to that storyboard, or I may download a book and read. Right now, I’m just letting it all soak in and will decide later.

34 Comments

Filed under Writing

Another 4000

Something strange happened at the office on Thursday. As our workday wound down, we all got an email that everything would be closed for a new federal holiday on Friday. The feeling around the office was uplifting. I didn’t know what to do with myself on Friday, so Old What’s Her Face and I just hung out together.

She volunteered for a shift at work today, so I had the house to myself. I planned it for a writing day, and we’ll be together again tomorrow.

I started early and left doors open while it was still cool. I started like I always do, by rereading what came before, and making some small modifications.

As Lanternfish winds down, I have a lot of small sections to create. This leads to a lot of page breaks, but I like what I’m seeing. Everyone is starting to display a degree of independence, and it feels natural now that warfare and piracy are over for most of them. I planned this part out so the words are flowing pretty fast.

Everyone needs to move on, and they aren’t going to do that as a crew. I have a lot of characters to deal with, and I’m taking them in tiers just like I’ve always done. Lesser characters will get a paragraph or two. More major characters will get a deeper dive into their futures.

I’m keeping in mind that a lot of readers had favorites, and want to bring everyone a bit of closure, even if it’s only a line or two.

The country is healing now, and things are looking positive. I should mention there are still root monster antics going on. Some of you became pretty attached to them, and I have something good in mind for them later.

I’m stopping a few words short of 4000 today. I might even finish the draft in another strong writing day, but we’ll see. It will be a little shorter than the first books in the trilogy, but still fit into a fantasy length.

I love it once the middle slog ends and the words just flow. I enjoyed myself today, and I think readers will like it, too.

Did any of you gain a Juneteenth holiday? Did you get some writing time in? Are you doing something fun?

25 Comments

Filed under Writing

Remember me?

Okay, it’s not quite that dismal. I just haven’t written anything specifically for this blog in a while. All of the book tour posts are original and there are more of them to come.

Honestly, my life hasn’t been that interesting lately. Things are stressful both personally and professionally. Those are difficult to post about, so thank God for original content in the tour posts.

I’m off tomorrow, but have a medical appointment that will screw up any writing plans. As such, I did a bit of writing today.

Lanternfish is plugging along. Even though it’s slowed down on the creation front, it’s good stuff when I can get to it. I decided to write today, just to remind myself I still can. It came to about a chapter in total, but that’s split between two chapters. Hope you understand what I mean.

I’m back to James and his family, who are with the Prelonian Army waging war. I designed a big battle involving mostly root monsters as the main characters. I elected to watch it play out with James and a newer character, Field Marshal Garret at an observation station.

Anyone who’s read any portion of Lanternfish knows how the root monsters operate by now. I felt it would be more interesting to watch from a distance for this event, rather than get on the ground with the monsters.

That’s about it, honestly. Work is going to be crazy this week, but I have tour posts to keep everyone engaged. I’ll check on those whenever I have the chance.

Comments and early reviews for Lunar Boogie are wonderful. I’d like to see more action on the sales front, but that’s the case with every book.

Hope all of you are safe, happy, and doing something fun today. Drop me a line in the comments.

27 Comments

Filed under Writing

Tough going today

I scratched this weekend off as far as writing is concerned. Our daughter was supposed to come and we were going to help celebrate her birthday.

When you live in a smaller town, you keep a list of things you want to do when you do go somewhere bigger. Our daughter is living that now. One of her goals was to visit her hairdresser. The hairdresser came down with Covid and cancelled. This means our daughter isn’t coming and will have to reschedule.

I get it. She’s a young woman making her own way out there, and even the gasoline has to be accounted for. I would reschedule things myself in her place.

That left me with available time, so I used it to write. I’m in a tough transitional part of my story, so it was slow going.

My main character, James, has to give up everything and step into a new role. I tried to show a few emotions, but probably didn’t dive deep enough into that. Project for later.

I moved James inland to get involved in the land war. He’s separated from his son, who is MIA, but he has to go.

Transitions are part of every story, but I find them difficult. The words don’t flow quite as well as they do in the exciting parts. It came to just over 1800 words today.

Now that he’s relocated, it’s time to review all available intelligence. That will move to making plans, and things tend to pick up from there. The last line for today involved him hearing a rumor about Serang and her army. Some of this has to happen before all the characters can converge once more.

Saturday is looking like a writing day, too. Things might move faster since I put the work in today. I still have to figure out what to do with the root monsters. They’re with James, but can’t steal from his allies. I’m sure there is some kind of mischief they can get into along the way.

17 Comments

Filed under Writing

Gotta stop for the day

Today was my flex day and Lanternfish was my goal. I wound up waking early, even though that wasn’t my intention. After I tended the dogs, I read back through my previous chapter, then let her rip.

Last time, I wrote right up to the cusp of Lanternfish’s biggest battle. Today it was time for that battle. A little bittersweet for me because it’s also Lanternfish’s final battle. I’ve spent a lot of years with this fictional ship.

Don’t worry, it isn’t all devastation and she has a different role, but the main characters do too. To grow, sometimes you have to give some things up.

There were deaths among the named crew members. This is war after all, and some of that needs to happen to keep things realistic.

There was a conflict between a Prelonian officer and Sergeant Schuster about rank. James settled that with a promotion that made Schuster into a captain. Since he is a marine, the rank isn’t as high as a naval captain. Quite different actually.

Schuster had a big night with his own POV adventure to go along with it. Banquo went with him and deployed the poison of Big Boogah which is a nice tie back to the original story.

Mule and Yoshiko also had a long night, but they were bailed out by Mule’s knife, also known as the black spot. Now they have the obligation to find and recover it. A nice tie to the second story.

Mal saved the day with one of his magical creations, but I need to go back and make that more prominent. Maybe add some results readers can appreciate.

Root monsters were involved, but I only focused on them in the aftermath. One named Fishbone is walking around with a fifty-caliber hole through his chest and the others think it’s hilarious.

I stopped with James in a state of exhaustion. Everything changed in the scope of one night. He has dead and wounded, he lost his ship. And he doesn’t know if it made any difference at all.

This is the perfect place to cut it off for the day. My next day will be a reflection and assessment section.

The events of this battle will lead directly to problems for the Palumbos, and I need to dream up how they will handle the two or three things I need them to accomplish.

Serang is at the point of her big event, but that seems like something I won’t reach this weekend.

All told it came to 4200 words. That’s amazing by my standards, but it has to do with getting out of that middle slog. This book is at 45,000 now. I hoped for about 50K at the midpoint so I’m a little shy. Since this is fantasy, I’d like to break 100K with the finished product.

When I write that fast, the results are usually weak. I like what I have, but I’m sure it’s full of word echoes and soft descriptions that I’ll have to address later.

Right now, I’m pleased with the results. I have a couple of guest spots to schedule, so the timing for that is perfect.

26 Comments

Filed under Writing

Have to be happy with today

It all came to 2800 words today. I’m always apprehensive, but it feels right to me.

It started with Serang’s army making plans for a major attack. They have to keep the moon phase in mind because of the Fulminites and their special ability.

What I didn’t care for was the three page chapter. I try not to do those, but I got everything I needed down and didn’t want to add filler just to make this section ten pages. I see these in books from time to time, so I figure I’m safe. It is what it must be.

I switched to James and Lanternfish, but handled this a bit differently. By this time, readers have experienced sea battles, so I told a bit to move the story along. We joined James at the aftermath of a battle where they wound up rescuing some Prelonian prisoners from the Hollish.

Then they went ashore to examine a signal from Diego Palumbo. In one of his previous sections, Diego left a bit of intelligence behind in hopes James might find it. Back in HMS Lanternfish, they used special lanterns for this purpose.

I turned recovery of the data into a root monster competition where the prize was getting a name. It became quite an event with monsters being thrown off a cliff, lots of laughter, and some confusion over what James might want. All told four monsters got names: Papers, Buckle, Fishbone, and Splat.

In brief, the army is in place with a plan. The “navy” is in the right spot, but needs to review their treasure. Even Diego and Camila are set up for their next adventure. I also have a cool sequence planned for Mal the witch doctor. And it all wrapped up with root monsters.

I’m pretty happy. The next stretch behind the keyboard will have to be James interpreting the data, but then all hell is going to break loose on multiple fronts.

Tomorrow is my errand day, then I drive to Nevada for a visit. Mom doesn’t have wifi, but I can pigtale to my phone if anyone needs me. I’m up at Story Empire with an interesting story structure. I’ll monitor comments, then check them once more before my drive. I will be out of range until I get to my parent’s home, but I can check again there.

Long drives are heavenly for spending with my Muse. I discovered a new song that gave me a character. It will be a couple of years before I can use him, but I might get an idea how a special grave digger fits into Lizzie’s universe over in the hat series. The song is too obscure for her band to play, but it’s a cool character idea.

32 Comments

Filed under Writing

The big squirrel festival

I had two goals today, and those didn’t have a lot of parameters. I wanted to go back over my existing work with a fine toothed comb, and I wanted to add some small amount of new words to Lanternfish.

What I didn’t plan on was the big squirrel festival in the back yard. This started off with one squirrel running down the fence then staring inside at the dogs as he waited.

That’s enough to make Frankie blow a gasket, so she had to chase him off. Another squirrel showed up, and the neighbor dog chased it away. The sound of her made Frankie have to go out and play, then they chased each other up and down the fence. I suppose the squirrels watched this part from the treetops.

Between bouts of this, more squirrels showed up, and we repeated the process all over again. Sometimes two of them at once.

Otto doesn’t care much anymore. This usually happens when a younger dog takes up the challenge, and Frankie is the younger of the two.

Somewhere in the middle of that, I managed to work through one chapter of Lunar Boogie, and one Chapter of Lanternfish. I still assume they suck, but I did what I could.

I also managed to add 1000 words to Lanternfish; not my most productive day. Even then, I resorted to root monster antics because they usually flow pretty fast.

There is a quiet and mysterious scene for Serang coming up. There will be some fantasy elements and a discovery involved. I just have to finish a chapter on the open sea before I can take that on.

I’ll try to dabble a bit more today, but right now I have to get up and let Frankie out. It seems there is a squirrel in the back yard.

32 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized, Writing

Strange writing day

I wound up with a bachelor’s weekend again. This is when my wife traditionally goes to Nevada to visit her brother for the Super Bowl.

As per usual, I am watching the dogs and hanging out here. I really enjoy these weekends, because I can work on my projects without a lot of interruption. Or so, I thought.

I’ve been moping around lately about Lanternfish. This project has a lot of moving parts, but I’ve been through this before. I know that if I only make a few commitments, the pieces will start coming together like they should. That was my big goal for the weekend.

I tried to work on it, but the dogs weren’t having it. I’ve never seen them so needy, so I assume they’re missing Mom. They each needed up in my lap, one at a time. As soon as one was happy, the other one needed me. We chased the squirrel.

Two fat bulldogs acted like treeing hounds and they got the stupid thing cornered. Then they started coming to the door to get me to help. Since this is just my crabapple tree, all I have to do is walk out and the squirrel makes a run for it.

We repeated this action a couple of times, until I decided I wasn’t getting anything accomplished. Days when I can do what I want are kind of rare birds.

Ultimately, I sequestered myself in the room I used when I had to work from home. My goal was to start adding those little stitches that start to bring the Lanternfish cast back together.

Naturally, I did this by breaking them down even further. Diego Palumbo went on a field trip without his wife. He’s looking for things he can interpolate into predictions she can magically make for the Hollish army. This has worked well, so far, but now they need more. The ultimate goal was to place the old green signal lantern on the cliffs beside the sea. Readers of HMS Lanternfish will know this is how they communicated with the ship.

That’s where it all went a little crazy. Diego is not a hero in the traditional sense of the term. He’s a con man, and a coward, so when he ran into trouble, I had to handle it a bit differently. I also wound up adding to the cast, but I hope to minimize this new character.

The whole thing kind of baffled me, because my target points were simple enough, but when I ended today, I had 4000 new words.

Of the three different stories going on right now, the Palumbos are supposed to be the shorter ones. I liked the way it came out, and Diego wound up learning a lot more than he anticipated.

Next on my checklist is some actual warfare for James and Lanternfish. It’s time to start getting deep into the action. This will be followed by a more tranquil section for Serang and her army. She will make a major discovery in that chapter.

I’m off on Monday, so if I can get that far over the weekend it will be super indeed. To do that, I’ll have to resist jumping over to Lunar Boogie, so we’ll see how it goes.

Honestly, all new words count, so it really doesn’t matter which book they apply to.

I may even schedule an evening writing session. Depends upon how I’m feeling about it all. That’s more of the beauty of the rare bachelor weekend.

Wish me luck.

32 Comments

Filed under Writing

Did what I could today

Sundays are never good writing days for me. This is the day I call my parents, and that usually eats up a considerable part of the morning. The other bookend is when Old What’s Her Face gets home from work.

Since I just saw my parents, and they’re coming tomorrow to get the repairs finished, our conversation was short. What to do? What to do?

I cracked open the Lanternfish MS, read the two previous chapters, then started writing. James and crew are on the open ocean once more and headed for war. Piracy is a distant memory for now.

I even managed a good section with root monster antics. Today’s effort only came to 1500 words, but I like what I accomplished. Chapters have to bounce between characters since some of them are in other places right now. I feel like it was a productive day.

I also addressed the Lanternfish critiques I’ve been parked on. This chapter was about my married cons, and the game they’re working. My experts seemed to like it, but I made plenty of boneheaded mistakes to address.

I also wrote my next post for Story Empire. I’ll get it scheduled sometime this afternoon.

While none of it seems outstanding by itself, when you tally it all up, I had a pretty good writing day. I was due, and feel good about how the weekend shaped up.

Hope all of you had wonderful weekends, too.

27 Comments

Filed under Writing