Tag Archives: Serang

Time for some Woodford Reserve

Today was my flex day. I started off with my usual surf through social media, read blogs, etc.

Then I turned my attention to the Lanternfish manuscript. I always read my last chapter before starting, and managed to correct a couple of typos. (Probably missed some, too.) I do this to get back into the story.

My goal was to have them sail away from their stop in Giapon by the end of the morning. I kind of made it.

This is because there was a lot to do. Serang needed to appoint officers on her inferior ship. None of the people aboard like each other, but she made a good start with them. Its sail pattern is inferior, and its going to have a hard time even keeping up with Lanternfish or La Girona, and they aren’t fast ships.

This led to some team building when a new sail pattern required construction of additional sails. They used people from all the various factions and Serang made them work together.

I also planted a little surprise for James in the form of a gift from the shogun. He isn’t interested in his new teenage concubine, but his adopted son sure is. The hopes are that some of this tension can carry my story while they sail the arctic waters. This new character will get a bigger moment later in the story.

In an emergency, I have a loose idea for an encounter with a monster that will happen outside of James’s view. He will only get a report from the root monsters after the fact. I need to figure out how to drop enough clues as they call the monster Waltus, so readers can figure out it was a walrus monster. I’ll only write it if I think the story could use it.

At the end of my day, Lanternfish and La Girona were still tied to the dock. Serang’s ship, called a turtle boat, was being pushed away from the dock by some pole men. May sound lame, but I’m counting it. They’re leaving now.

Research said the turtle boat was a real thing, and seems to have some connection to the Korean Peninsula. I also got lucky with names again. While Giapon is an old reference to Japan, Goryeo is an old reference to Korea. These make good names for my fictional locations.

I ended my fiction at 2900 words. My next section will be finishing the repairs while at sea. James wants to get the natives away from Giapon, and hopes to avoid a revolt over taking them away. It was a good day for me.

Grinders is still chugging along. I contacted two more hosts for next week, and already heard back from one. I prepared that post and sent it out. It’s a post about my antagonist, so I think it could draw some real attention.

Tonight it’s Woodford Reserve on the rocks. Back to the paycheck job tomorrow.

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Ahhhh!

I spent yesterday clearing my plate of busy work associated with promoting Grinders. This worked out well, and other than a few tweets, I don’t have much to do on that front.

I also addressed the critiques for both stories, so that left me free to write. I opened the HMS Lanternfish manuscript and read my last chapter. After that it was off to the races.

I answered some questions about a ghostly encounter Mule and a couple of the other officers had. Since this is pseudo Asia, there are some awesome ghost stories to pirate from. I also set Mule up to have another one at a later time. I don’t know if it will happen in this book or in the next one, but this book seems more appropriate. It would be pretty easy to do either way.

A lot of research went into the world of Giapon. Not only ghost stories, but something cool called a turtle boat, too. James and friends are stuck with three ships now, which prevents his ability to leap magically ahead. He’s stuck sailing the old fashioned way. Obviously, I’ll free him to maneuver later on, but for now, this suits the story.

Perhaps the most fun part was putting Serang in charge of the turtle boat and all it’s inhabitants. These aren’t people who are glad to see her, but I like the way she handled herself. She also promoted herself, and General Serang is going to have some interesting adventures ahead of her.

I still need to iron out some details, then they’re going to be leaving Giapon. Other details can be worked out at sea. I had to stop because the general needs to assess her army and appoint officers. This is going to require me to do some research into names, and come up with a bunch of new characters. (As if Lanternfish needed more characters.)

I need to do a flashback to Serang’s past, but I can manage that at sea as they head north.

All this will be worth it when they get back to the actual war, and even the land war. I also need to come up with some fantasy ideas for arctic exploration, because that’s where they’re headed next. I’m trying to include some fantasy elements at every stop. I have the weird creatures on the floating island, the ghosts of Giapon, and I want to keep that coming.

I still need to work in a little surprise I have planned for James, the captain. This is going to be a fun plant that I can do many things with later.

I actually checked my numbers, because it felt pretty good. Today it came to 3800 new words. That’s a pretty great day by my standards. Yeah it probably needs some work, but it exists to be fixed now.

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Saturday efforts

Today, I sent out the first submission of my side project. This one involves Lizzie and the hat in their third adventure. They’re chasing vampires this time in a rodeo/country music type environment. I know I’ve kind of avoided vampires, but believe I can put a different spin on it, and still keep the humor the characters have become known for. I’m chewing my nails to find out what my critique group thinks of it all.

I also sent out the manuscript of Grinders to my formatter. She sent me an invoice, but I’m loath to pay it until tomorrow. She’s already completed the finished product, but I can’t publish until I have my Lisa Burton promotional posters. What would one of my releases be without Lisa?

Speaking of Grinders, several bloggers offered to host a cover reveal for me. I sent all those out, and several have posted already. I’m not reblogging these because they’re all the same. If you find one online somewhere, I would appreciate a tweet or Facebook post. I’m getting some nice comments on these, so I have high hopes about the eventual publication.

I wanted to get something out for Chinese New Year, and the cover reveal is that attempt. I’m a few weeks away from publication.

I’ve been working on a critique for a friend, and am about half-way through the submission. I’ll probably finish it tomorrow. Our rules are to send the feedback to the entire group, and it’s a great way to raise my own game. Sometimes we don’t know everything and a bit of effort like this helps me improve my own fiction.

Then I scheduled my next Story Empire post. This one is a continuation of the Character Archetypes; the Mentor. I hope it will be well received.

I’m off until Tuesday, so I have high hopes for Monday. I don’t quite have enough to send out the next section of Lanternfish, but could have by Monday night. The crew left the magical floating island of Bungo Bungo and are headed for Giapon. This is a stand-in for Japan in my story. This is the country that Serang’s Emperor has been at war with for decades. Maybe I can build some tension with placing her in this environment.

Sunday is the day I call my parents, and spend some time with my family. There are some Sundays when I can read or maybe write a paragraph or two, but I don’t usually push it on Sundays.

Old What’s Her Face and I had a lovely date night at one of our favorite places, Kahoots. They have a great selection on tap right now, so I had a Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout, a nice Scotch Ale, and a Expresso Stout. Aside from that, the prime rib was outstanding.

With all that wonderful beer, that’s why I’ll pay my invoice tomorrow. I’m going to watch an old movie tonight and just chill. Hope you’re all having a good weekend in whatever you’re doing.

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2019, I’m calling it a success

I always try to do a year end assessment this time of year, then follow it up with a business plan in the new year. This is the assessment post.

My goals for 2019 were to step back from social media a bit and to explore sequels in my stories. In this, I was successful. I used to make custom tweets and make time to share them, make the occasional post on all the other formats out there, but honestly, they accomplish nothing. I keep these formats, and this blog auto-feeds to them, but the main goal is to point people here.

Currently, social media is for my own entertainment, but I try to share favors. Meaning, if someone tweets about my books, I try to follow and share their pinned tweet. I like finding out about all the baseball trades, bulldog pictures, and simple stuff on Facebook, but that’s about all it’s good for. I joined a big group event on Facebook that was promoted like an online trade show. It was a total failure, and I won’t make that mistake again.

I stopped paying for Facebook ads and Amazon ads last year. They never really did much, and the last few times they did nothing. My promotional efforts these days are in the form of blog tours, and a promotion company. Even then, I don’t always hire the promo firm.

When I released The Hat, the promo company really paid off. I got a bunch of early reviews, and sales were great. Things really tapered off after that. I used them for Viral Blues this year, and got one review from the NetGalley portion of the bundle.

As far as exploring sequels and series work, I count it as a major success. Success means different things to different people, so some explanation is in order. I’ll include covers and links, but I’m skipping the blurbs. This isn’t about promo, but assessment.

The first thing I published was Voyage of the Lanternfish. This is a crazy pirate fantasy with magic, monsters, and gunpowder. I’ve heard the term Flintlock Fantasy thrown around, and that might be a reasonable description.

It’s important to note this is not a sequel to anything. It’s the original book in what is destined to become a series. I published it on New Year’s Day, so it counts as 2019.

This book sold fairly well, and the comments I got on it led me to the trilogy idea. Reviews are lagging, so I’m a bit concerned.

Something else came up in a lot of the discussion. Two characters clicked with people, and they came up a lot. One isn’t so much a character as a collection of root monsters. I count them as one, because they function in swarm capacity during the action scenes. In my mind, they were just a bit of silliness to fill in the corners while Lanternfish was on a long sea voyage. Kind of like how Scrat fills out the edges of the Ice Age films. However, people loved them. I even had one ask for a root monster stand-alone book.

I don’t see that happening, because some of my over-the-top characters are better in small doses. A little is wonderful, too much can lead to brain damage.

Once I decided this could fit the classic trilogy format, I panicked a little. It would take at least a year to produce the next volume, and likely more than that. How am I going to keep fans interested during that time? This is where the other standout character came into play.

Lanternfish is set in a fantasy environment, mostly because I want to avoid comparison with Pirates of the Caribbean. There are some parallels to real world places, and it isn’t hard to understand that Serang is from pseudo-China. Her character, and this part of the world, made it easy to write her story.

Serang was raised by monks, then fled the country to become a pirate – kind of. This is a stand alone title, but it supports the Lanternfish environment. My hope is that Lanternfish fans will learn more about Serang by reading her book, and that it will tide them over until HMS Lanternfish is ready in 2020.

There is also a chance that people will read Serang first, then follow her into the Lanternfish stories.

Honestly, I dropped the ball on promotion of Serang. I released her story about 60 days after Viral Blues, and did an extensive tour for it. (More on that later.) When Serang published, I worried about my regulars suffering from tour fatigue. I took her on tour, but cut it short as a business decision. I also did not use the promo company for her story.

As of this writing, she only has four reviews on Amazon. This is partially because Amazon won’t let some people post reviews. They can still post on BookBub and Goodreads, and she’s doing better there. It seems odd to me, because these people review a mountain of books. It isn’t like they’re all shills for C. S. Boyack, but there’s nothing any of us can do about it.

I think she deserves better, and all of the reviews have been glowing.

The third book was a true sequel. My first one. It’s called Viral Blues, and is the follow up story to The Hat. The Hat sold incredibly well, and is the best reviewed book I have. Because of this, I thought Viral Blues would do better than it did. I paid the promo company for this story, and pushed the hell out of it around the Halloween season. It did well, but maybe I expected too much.

Lizzie and The Hat are back, but so are a bunch of old favorite characters. I’ve gotten some nice comments about Lisa Burton returning to a story, and admit she’s kind of a scene stealer at times. I’ve also gotten some great comments on Clovis. Both of these characters came with existing fans, so it was fun putting them in a new tale. Lizzie and The Hat carry the story, but it’s kind of like a superhero team-up.

I doubt there will ever be another story like Viral Blues, but it was a blast to create it. Lizzie and The Hat will go on, but it will be in their own adventures. These stories are paranormal with a lot of dark humor and snark.

I don’t want to jump ahead to my Business Plan, but I have some fun ideas for Lizzie and The Hat.

My goals for the two series are different. When it comes to Lanternfish, a trilogy almost demands prerequisite reading to carry on with the story. Stories about The Hat, can be read as stand-alone volumes with more available if you enjoyed the one you picked.

My Story Empire friends helped me scratch out some branding ideas for the series. With Lanternfish, there is no mistaking that figurehead. If it appears on all the covers, that should be good enough. When it comes to The Hat, I commissioned a small badge I can include on all the subsequent tales. It’s Lizzie playing her upright bass. It’s just a small icon that will let readers know it’s part of the series.

When it comes to the other parts of writing, some things changed. With three publications, they almost had to. Writing all those tour posts takes time, even if they are excerpts. All of my tour posts are unique, so I don’t wear people out when I run out a new story.

***

I didn’t return to blog posts about the writing cabin until late Autumn. This was a mistake. It’s easier to blog about what I’ve been doing than it is to fictionalize the same information and converse with Lisa. However, my stats clearly demonstrate that readers prefer interaction with Lisa.

I didn’t post as many Idea Mill posts this year, and they performed well. I need to step it up on that front. All of us need ideas for our stories, and sharing the oddball things I stumble across is kind of fun.

I also skipped Macabre Macaroni this year. I was neck deep in promotion for Viral Blues during October, and didn’t have time to write scary micro-fiction for the blog. Honestly, it passed without much notice. It’s one of those things people love when it appears, but don’t seem to miss if it doesn’t. No idea what to think about this.

Lisa Burton Radio slipped a bit, too, but that was on purpose.  Here’s a bit of my thought process. Feel free to disagree with me, but I’m just being frank. As an author, I know how hard it is to find good free promotion. Even then, there is only so much you can do. Talk about your main character, maybe your antagonist, plot. Sometimes share an excerpt.

I created something unique, in that Lisa interviews the character of your choice. It’s different enough to draw attention, and they are always popular posts. I started out asking people to give me a chance. I even advertised on various sites to get guests. I wound up posting weekly without much gap for two years. We moved some books, too.

However, there is a downside. They take a lot of work to put together. This is a collaborative effort, and it eats into my time. Many times, the guest author never even shows up, or publishes one comment to the group in passing. These posts work when the author pushes the hell out of them. I have one guest who still tweets out his older post from a year ago. That’s how it’s done.

Lisa Burton Radio is still available upon request. I’m not begging for guests any more. It’s a choice slot, and you get out what you put into it. I’m using the time I gained to write my next book. If you’re interested, Lisa will be happy to talk with your character.

To close the year out, I did something I swore I’d never do again. I held some Amazon free days for one of my books. The Playground is an older title, but several characters from this book made an appearance in Viral Blues. It also has a loose Christmas theme behind it. Honestly, we moved a crap-ton of books. My stats even showed it reaching single digits on one of the categories. I could call it a best seller at 100, so at number 9 I was kind of impressed. What I’d like to see as fallout are people following Clovis and/or Gina over to Viral Blues. A few reviews would be nice, too.

It isn’t lost on me that Serang, Voyage of the Lanternfish, and The Hat could make timely free books when the sequels are ready for publication. Watching the fallout from my Playground promo closely to figure this out.

Obviously, there is more to life than my author career, but this is a writing blog. My life has health issues, pets, relationships, and a 40 hour-per-week job, too. This post is an assessment of my 2019 success and fumbles as an author. My goal has always been to entertain people for a few hours. It’s even the name of the blog. With that in mind, I think 2019 goes in the win column.

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All over the place today

Old What’s Her Face is off this weekend, so I did what I could. Things were pretty calm this morning so I added words to HMS Lanternfish. I didn’t track it, but it feels like about 2000 words.

Part of this was coming down from the action scene I wrote Wednesday. My crew, particularly the captain, needs time to process, and in this case heal. Those bits always take me longer to write.

Then I added a few root monster antics, because they’ve been fairly quiet for a chapter or two. It worked out kind of cool, because it led into a scene involving St. Elmo’s fire at the top of the main mast.

Since this is fantasy, a rare natural phenomenon isn’t good enough. It brought James a vision, and it’s going to let me reveal some cool things. I just haven’t written all of that yet.

Basically, it involved the king of Saphelon discussing the arrival of the Fulminites on their continent. James’s father started the first war on behalf of this king, but that’s not in the history books. The books make the current enemy, Hollish, appear to be the aggressors. The fun part is that it was James’s father who brought the Fulminites to this part of the world. When I write that out, maybe that’s why he fled with his young son to a safer area.

I also got to add a minor sea creature, and that helps with world building. Then another root monster earned a name.

Beyond that, I had my final critiques for Grinders to deal with. I spent a few hours tweaking this story, and am basically finished. I’ll take it out in January and give it a complete read over before publishing. I think you guys are going to like it.

Tonight, I sent an email to Sean Harrington about cover art and Lisa Burton posters. Grinders is a stand alone book, and was one of my side projects over the summer. I hope to release it about the time the snow melts.

In other news, we have our Star Wars tickets for the 21st. We’ve also been digging The Mandalorian on Disney+. Just listen to this theme. You have to give it a few, because the intro is long.

When I close my eyes and listen, I get a visual of Serang walking down the dock toward some unseen enemy whilst twirling her guandao slowly. It has a throwback sound to it that reminds me of Ennio Morricone.

Aside from this, Apple has yet another update. This one screwed up WordPress for me. Now everything I do, it tries to force me into the app. Don’t get me wrong, the app does some great things, but reading and commenting on blogs isn’t one of them. I have a way to force it all to work in Safari, but don’t think I should have to. Why does it seem like any upgrade only seems to break things that worked fine before? It seems to be that way for all apps, and platforms.

I doubt much, if any, progress is happening tomorrow, but my flex day is Monday. I kind of expect to move Lanternfish ahead on Monday.

Hope all of you are having a great weekend. It’s time for a nice vanilla porter and an older Star Wars movie.

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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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My side project

This year, I started dabbling with the idea of two projects at a time. I always thought I couldn’t do it, but it’s made me more productive in the long run.

My only explanation is that when I get stumped in my main project, I can pick up the other one and move ahead. Usually by doing this, it unwinds the issue I had in the main project.

With Viral Blues and Serang out the door, I can concentrate on new fiction once more. The main goal is HMS Lanternfish, but it’s been “at anchor” since September. My side project is close to completion, so I’m focusing more on it right now.

Old What’s Her Face was off all weekend, and that prevents new fiction from happening. It’s one thing to write a blog post, or exchange a few emails with various hosts, but new fiction requires concentration.

We decided to rearrange the garage yesterday, and that was a more productive use of time. We threw some things out, swept up, moved the shelving around, then brought in the patio furniture for the winter. It was a good day, and the weather was perfect.

She took over the television, so we had Hallmark Christmas while I gnashed my teeth and prayed for a national emergency or something to interrupt. After that it was some red carpet event followed by an awards show. I’d moved on to bourbon by then, so it didn’t matter.

Today is a different matter. She has to work today, and my time is my own. The side project is called Grinders. This one is a niche bit of science fiction called cyber -punk.

Grinders are a group of people who implant technology into their own bodies, or those of friends, in the hopes of becoming more than human. This goes on today, so I ran with it.

Cyber-punk usually doesn’t have deep plots. It’s more about exploring this futuristic world, and all the fantastic new things it holds. I kept my plot pretty basic, but there is one – just in case.

It is science fiction, so I made sure to poke a stick at some of our modern issues and push them to extremes in the future. It’s small stuff, but kind of what science fiction is good at. You’ll see advertising pushed to the extreme, helicopter moms, safe spaces, plastic contamination, and global warming, but not in a preachy way.

I added about 2000 new words to it today, and moved from end-game to denouement. There are a couple of threads to sew up, so this section is longer than I usually do. It all works, so I’m not worried about it.

I’ve decided to write my first epilog, too. I know those are out of vogue, but there are a couple of animals who get abandoned about 3/4 of the way in, and I want to wrap their story. They no longer influence the plot, but a couple of paragraphs aren’t really a deal killer. Might even finish it next weekend.

Yesterday, I shared the Pinterest Board for Serang. A few people seemed to enjoy it, so I’m going to share the one for Grinders. You’ll see some cityscapes, character studies, and even a maze of pipe for a rat. Here’s the Pinterest Board.

One of the cool things about Pinterest is the boards stick around. If you want to write something about China, or your own cyber-punk story, you can snipe from these to start your own board. Just cruising them might give you a brand new idea.

Sean Harrington is sharing Lisa’s catfish poster on his DeviantArt site. Sean and I have a long history, and he might appreciate a bit of traffic. Here is the link if you’d like to visit him.

I’m still watching for reviews. Serang is too new to have anything, but Viral Blues is ripe for some fresh reviews. If you enjoyed this story, it’s a huge help to say something on Amazon. It doesn’t take much, just a line or two and it counts as much as those who write paragraphs of commentary.

When I finish Grinders, I’m going to take Lanternfish back up. I probably won’t start a side project for a while, but once I add about 30K words to that story, It’s likely I will start another one… on the side.

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Huh! Never saw that coming.

I’ve spent a month beating myself up about all this promotion. It’s felt like lather, rinse, repeat for weeks – at least to me. However, there is an upside I never saw coming.

This time out, I’m asking my hosts what they want for their sites. Some of them are throwing me a curve or two, and the posts are coming out differently than previous outings. I’ve always pre-written a bunch of posts that I could send out when I was ready, but having both books so close together, that didn’t happen this time.

I’ve been a whiny baby about it, (and could be again), but I think the posts are better this time.

Writing has always been a journey for me, and this feels like a baby step along that path. It’s not as easy, or convenient, but that small bit of challenge is working for me. I’m not talking about sales here. Those may, or may not, come. I just feel like the tour posts are an improvement over my usual fare. It’s just a tick, and some of you might not notice, but I’m feeling it.

I spent the day custom writing posts for the coming week. They’ll spread out, and won’t fill the week, but it’s a comfort zone. If I find more time this weekend, I might even draft some new material. (My favorite thing.)

Many times, I tend to lower my head and charge into the work that needs to be done. I get a lot accomplished that way. Sometimes it’s worth stopping and assessing that production, both for volume and quality.

That’s a lot of words to say, I think I learned something. Blog hosts know their own followers. They know what will connect with them. I will still keep my living document about promotional topics. There is always someone who says to send them whatever I like. I may be adding to my list for future blog tour material.

Next weekend, I’ll reach out to a few more hosts and find out what challenges they give me. I’ll do it with a positive attitude, and hope I’m able to deliver what they want. Obviously, it has to fit with the story. I can’t turn Serang into a horror story or a sweet romance, but maybe I can pluck a few strings that will be different than my usual fare.

It’s a challenge, but I recommend trying it. You likely know your hosts as well as I know mine. Ask them what they want the next time you go on tour. It may be harder, but the results might be better than you imagined.

Aside from the tour posts, I also have one of my Story Empire posts coming up. It’s going to be another Expansion Pack post about characters you might not have considered. Plenty of me to go around this week, and I still have a few open days if anything exciting happens around here.

Here’s something interesting. I’m trying to make a pin board for all of my stories these days. I use them as reference while I’m drafting the manuscript. I found some amazing things that influenced Serang, and you might want to check it out. Asia has some beautiful scenery, interesting wildlife, and more. (I’d kind of love to visit someday.) Here is the link to the Pinterest Board. You’ll find pictures and artwork that influenced the story. Things like Fu Dogs, the Temple of Wind, martial arts, marketplaces, and more. There are simpler things, too, like watercolors of tiny birds, drying persimmons, and musical instruments. The secondary bonus is my boards aren’t going anywhere. They make a nice reference for stories that have been filtered down to specific settings. Mine and yours.

Hope you’re all having a great weekend.

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It worked. It’s a book

I allowed myself that extra hour of sleep the time change provided. This isn’t my first book, so I didn’t completely panic when I got up.

I went through my morning routine, fed the dogs, etc. When I check email, Amazon said it was a book. I dedicated some time to updating BookBub, Goodreads, claiming the book for my Amazon author site, all those fun things. I also updated Entertaining Stories so Serang shows up in the sidebar.

I’m too lazy to cover my banner image with bamboo or jungle vines, so I’ll leave Clovis’ car and dog there for now. I could ask Sean for an art update, but I’m trying to save a buck here and there.

As of now, the cover in the sidebar links to Amazon. Then I did something unusual. I added another 1500 to 1800 words to Grinders. This one is racing toward the finish line, and I want to clear my deck so I can take Lanternfish back up.

I wrote one promotional post and sent it out, then decided to update my blog. Here is some data about Serang.

Blurb:

Monastic life is all about duty, service, harmony. For Serang, a young girl abandoned at the temple by her mother after the death of her father, that life becomes all she knows. The monks give her purpose, and become her new family.

When political upheaval causes chaos throughout the land, Serang again loses everything and everyone she loves. Alone, she struggles to survive. She convinces a wandering monk to take her under his wing and complete her training. Thus begins her adventures through strange lands and her trials to become a confident, capable, independent adult.

This is a coming of age story set in a fantasy world. It’s filled with monsters and martial arts, difficulties and dangers. The serious situations preclude the story from the levity of its predecessor, Voyage of the Lanternfish, but it provides a compelling look at the origin of one of the saga’s most fascinating characters.

 

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This story is a supporting story to the Lanternfish trilogy. Serang was so interesting, and her part of the world so different than other places in that story, that I though she deserved her own tale. I also intend for it to hold people over while I finish writing the next volume. I hope you guys will give it a chance sometime this winter.

 

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