Tag Archives: sourdough

Some days I hate to stop

Today was a writing day. When I have the place to myself, dogs excepted, it’s usually a decent writing day. Today was no exception.

I decided to work on my nameless team-up adventure. It feels like about 4000 words today, and I hate to stop. Old What’s Her Face will be home soon, and that stops it anyway, so it’s time to blog.

My characters did some spying with a drone, discovered that the bad guys raised the stakes with what amounts to a biological weapon, then identified a likely place to investigate further.

The new site is swarming with zombies, and the team was beaten back. A couple of the girls commented on Jason’s bare butt as he tried to help them avoid getting killed.

Lisa Burton was taken out of action by a huge electro-magnet. Computers and magnets don’t get along too well.

Gina decided it was time to fight fire (undead) with fire (undead). This led to a fun Voodoo ritual, and the game changed directions for a bit. That’s right at the point where I stopped, and there is a lot more to this part.

Clovis had to face a small bit of his past, in the form of zombies that he’d already made dead once before. He isn’t phased by much, so I doubt it will slow him down. I probably need to beef this part up a little.

Like I said, sometimes I hate to stop. It makes for a good place to pick it back up again.

Sundays I call my parents, so a lot of my quality time goes into that. This makes late morning a great time to address some of those Serang edits I need to get to. I’ve decided to do this in two parts. First, fix all the grammatical things, then go back to paragraph one and edit for content. To do this, I’m going to identify the key points, do word count between them, then assess if the between parts get beefed up or cut back.

Serang has been a little tougher to write, but it’s a great experience. It’s kind of a fictional biography, and there are some things from Lanternfish that cannot be changed. I’m enjoying the challenge of this one, but they are different challenges than the other story.

I’m off Monday too, so I’ll probably leap the team-up story ahead some more. At least that’s my goal.

I started my day with some sourdough toast, and it was great. I’m having a meatloaf sandwich now, and it’s great too. All in all, it’s been a great day. Hope yours is too.

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A writer’s holiday

After the goof off weekend, I planned on one more day of writing. It turned out pretty well, but wasn’t a banner day. My iPad battery says it’s time to recharge, so I’m writing this while it’s on the wire.

I have two of three critiques back for Serang, and will wait for the remaining one. Maybe I can address all of them come Saturday.

Today I focused on the unnamed team-up adventure. I stopped doing word counts, but it feels like about 2000. Lizzie and the hat had a small spat, because they always do. They teamed up with Clovis to chase a red herring that revealed a big surprise. Of course he busted some heads along the way, because that’s what he does. He even got to kill a zombie using a sledge hammer. Fun, fun, fun.

Oh, and Lizzie and the hat stole a second upright bass. It was right there, what were they supposed to do?

Lisa and Jason got the last scene, so they faded into the background for this section. Jason is thinking about going home and cutting his losses. Gina and Gupta shared a new development that raised the stakes and anchored everyone until the end.

I have a conundrum with this one. I want it at novel length, but it’s looking like about 50,000 words will wrap it up. I’ve always said a story should be as long as it needs to be, no more – no less. I still believe that.

My problem is that I have enough 99¢ titles out there. If someone needs a stepping stone into my work, there are plenty of options, even a couple of free anthologies. I want to price this one at $2.99 like most of my recent work. I’d like some feedback here, but I won’t pad word count. I have several big scenes, and can’t be completely sure until I wrap it up. What’s your advice on pricing? Would you pay $2.99 for a short novel?

Keep in mind that my publishing desire is Serang before school lets out, then the un-named project around Halloween. I may park the unnamed one, finish Serang, then see if more ideas pop up for the unnamed one during the Spring.

In other news, the experimental bread rose well overnight. Sourdough is slow and you have to be patient. I punched it down before sunrise, but it’s taking its sweet time on the second rise. If I need to nudge it a bit, I’ll place it on a hot pad.

For the rest of the day, I’ll kick back and wait for the black helicopters to land. Why you ask? These are the windows I have open in my browser. It could give you some insight into both stories I’m working on right now.

  • My blog, Entertaining Stories.
  • Yin and Yang comparison.
  • Viral Hemorrhagic Fever.
  • Marburg Virus.
  • English to Chinese translator.
  • The Chinese Cobra.
  • Three different tabs for an online convention I’m interested in.
  • A chart about how fast Ebola spreads.
  • A map of the districts in Chicago.
  • Amazon for Voyage of the Lanternfish. (I was checking for new reviews. I need more.)

What’s your browsing history look like?

This afternoon, I have to get on with an interview for Lisa Burton Radio. Interest in these has tapered off, but I’m still doing them. I may use the online convention to push them a bit more.

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It’s a goof off weekend

Old What’s Her Face is off Saturday and Sunday. While this is great, it also prevents me from doing some things.

I sent off a big portion Serang to my critique partners. One has already trickled back, and I’m sure the others will in the next few days. It’s a good time to pause this one. She and her master wandered to the high desert, far from the Emperor’s focus. There are soldiers here, but the main focus is along the Northern Coast.

There is a thieves market here, and I want Serang to change her viewpoint toward them. Right now, she thinks they should all be hanged. If she’s going to become a pirate, this is where her attitude must change.

The vendors all have something similar to a Tibetan mastiff protecting their shops. This is a bit of scene setting for something I need to explain explain from Lanternfish.

I’ve come across several places like this in the story. Because it is a prequel, I have to live with everything that’s come before. I’m really enjoying the challenge. Right now, it’s a good time to pause and think.

I made a loaf of very good sourdough, but it’s gone now. Today I started a new batch of experimental bread. This time I added sesame seeds, sesame oil, and a big scoop of chili-garlic sauce. Might be a disaster, might be pretty good. I wish I had a scoop of leftover rice, but such is life.

We watched a bunch of movies, and with the crappy weather it’s a good plan. Watched Silverado. Odd cast for a cowboy movie, but it’s a great film. I actually based a character in Panama around Linda Hunt from this film.

Several Clint Eastwood films filled out the bulk of the day, plus Deadpool 2. Right now, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is on. I know everyone is down on Nicholas Cage, but I always liked him.

While the bread is rising, we’ll probably watch movies all day. That, and I need to sew a button on a favorite shirt. The damned thing broke in half. I’ve never seen that before.

I get the holiday off tomorrow. I need to read back a couple chapters, but I do that every writing day. If my luck holds, I’ll move the team-up project ahead. They’re getting closer to the paranormal bad guy, but not just yet. They have a red herring they need to chase, and might get to chase it tomorrow.

Hope all of you are enjoying your weekend. Tell me about it in the comments.

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Punking out today

I’m not doing much of anything today. Everyone is home, and the dogs are noisy to the point of nuisance.

I could have done some reading. Could have done some writing, but they both require a quiet place.

Did a lot of internet surfing today. Found some nice reviews for Lanternfish. Seems odd to me that the USA reviews post on the UK site, but the UK reviews don’t post on the US site. I have a great review on the UK site too.

Lanternfish is thing. People seem to be enjoying it. If you haven’t picked up your copy, you still have time to do so and tell your friends, “I was into Lanternfish before it was cool.” Think how much you’ll enjoy that.

All you have to do is click on the cover, over there.

I managed a bunch of daydreaming and added a ton of lines to a notebook about future stories. This is pre-storyboard stuff, but they make cool vignettes, scenes, characters, monsters, etc.

It helped with the ideas that the Harry Potter and Magical Creatures marathon is on television today.

With tomorrow being Super Sunday, I doubt I’ll be any more productive. I have Monday off, so maybe there’s hope for it. I have a wonderful book I’m reading, and the mashup story could use another chapter.

I left Jason Fogg inside a skyscraper trying to steal some corporate documents to help the group gain an advantage. I’m pretty sure he’s going to get thrown off the building. He’s Jason, so he can fog-out before hitting the street. I can still build some tension in that his thrower is watching, and he has to time it right to convince the guy that he splatted on the ground.

Jason’s stories were always in first person, and it would be great in a scene like this. It doesn’t work in the mashup, because all the players get time in the spotlight.

I also woke up Tituba the sourdough starter. She’s bubbling away and ready to bake. I might do some of that too.

I hope all of you are having a great weekend. I couldn’t care less about the game. It’s the ones who got there on a bad call vs the ones who got there on a lucky coin toss for possession. There will be the advertisements, some great craft beer, and my wife promised hot goat cheese dip with poblano drizzled over the top. Go craft beer and goat cheese! Nom.

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Goofing off, kind of

I never received back any of the final interviews this weekend. That means I didn’t schedule any new ones. I sent one out, but I’m three weeks ahead. There is no need to panic… yet. Sometimes authors drag their feet, and I understand. I’m pretty sure they will come in and get me through the month of June.

I didn’t do squat today. I watched Spider-Man Homecoming, because I hadn’t seen that one. I liked the message that Stark technology didn’t make Spider-Man. He had to be Spider-Man first. (No idea why Apple is forcing the hyphen in there, but don’t care enough to change it.)

Yesterday, while Dad and I were hanging out, I started some sourdough raising.

Today, Old What’s Her Face made some beans and meat. Dinner was a team affair, and it was awesome.

Homemade sourdough scones…

…led to homemade Indian Tacos.

They were stellar. There are a few scones left over to have one for breakfast, maybe with some honey butter. (Before anyone asks, these are American Indian tacos. Most county fairs out west have these.)

Back to work tomorrow, hope all of you enjoyed your weekends.

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Home once more

I got home about 10:00 last night. My final seminar lasted until noon, and I had a tight connection in Houston. Of course Houston had traffic problems, so we got parked on the runway in NOLA.

By the time we got there, we had to run from one plane to the other, but we made it. This left me in a position of having the standard powdered egg breakfast at my hotel, and nothing else all day. I planned on a burger in Houston.

I avoided sitting by the weirdo, or the rowdy children on the planes. Everything was good until the last plane, Houston to Boise. This is when the lady who marinated in perfume sat beside me. I sneezed the whole way home.

It was a good trip. I went to some good seminars, volunteered for a few projects, and got to see some old friends from other states. Even got my one night out for a decent meal.

The dogs were happy to see me. We had to play with all their toys today. I woke up to this in my back yard.

If the weather allows it, I could have some peaches this summer. I don’t see any bees yet, so I hope a few show up.

I worked up shticks for two more Lisa Burton Radio interviews and got them out the door. I have a dozen I could work on, but don’t see the value in creating a backlog when it comes time to post them.

I also wrote and scheduled my next item on Story Empire. I tried to simplify a complex issue, so we’ll see how it comes across. I added one photo, but it doesn’t seem sexy enough for Story Empire. I may find another image and squeeze it in. It doesn’t post for another week.

Now I have to baby my sourdough starter. My wife kept it fed, but it looks like it took a hit. I’ll have it in baking shape in a week.

Many of you asked about Laurie’s trick for the Charlie horses. This was down in the comments the other day. She said to place a bar of soap under the bottom sheet near where I got all the cramps. I tried it, and did not get any more Charlie horses. I toned down the long walks, and drank more water, so I can’t say for sure if the soap made the difference, but there were no more cramps.

I googled this and it’s a real thing. I don’t care so much about the science behind it. If it lets me sleep and gets rid of the cramps, I’m all over it. Thank you, Laurie.

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Saturday, for what it’s worth

I really slept in this morning. I mean more than ever happens. Part of this is because I stayed up watching baseball last night. In fact, I have today’s game on right now.

My wife and daughter were both off today, so productivity ended when I didn’t get up early. My only goals this weekend were to schedule a future interview, and to write shticks for two more. I never got any of it done.

I appreciate Rosie’s Book Review Team for another great review of The Hat. This one seems to be doing well with its readers. In fact someone grabbed a copy from Netgalley, and I received an additional five star review.

I never accomplished much today, but I can’t complain about the good things that happened.

Old What’s Her Face wants some sourdough rolls to go with dinner tomorrow. She bought a replacement bag of flour for me, and I just finished mixing them up. They probably won’t get really sour, but they’ll still be nice rolls.

There are a few hours left to get your copy of The Enhanced League while it’s still free. I saw it get as high as 28 on the sports stories chart. I only take photos now if something gets on a top ten list.

Those who read Enhanced League, seemed to enjoy it. You don’t have to be a baseball fan to understand the human interest stories in this collection.

Next week, my workplace is sending me to a convention in NOLA. Great place to go, but work won’t allow tons of time to have fun. I may have to write some of my shticks on the airplane, but at least I’ll have that time available.

I’ll share a photo or two if I see something cool while I’m there.

PS: Grab a copy of Enhanced League.

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A ghost story, and a bad dog

My mornings are hectic. I have things to do before I head out the door. I bathe, comb my hair, etc. After getting dressed, I have to let the dogs outside, prepare their food, make the coffee, etc. Like most folks out there. In addition, I usually turn on the morning news while I putter about.

To tell this story, I have to give you some idea of the layout of my house. The kitchen is under the upstairs bedrooms. It’s divided off by a breakfast bar from the living space. The rest of the living area is under a vaulted ceiling, with a portion dedicated to a dining area, and the rest being living room. The master bedroom steps right into the space between the dining room table, and the breakfast bar attached to the kitchen. We have some tall stools that are permanently at the bar.

The area between the stools and the dining room table is about five feet wide. It’s just a walking area.

My habit is to take the dogs through this area, open the glass slider and let them out. Then I step into the living area and turn on the news before going about the rest of the stuff. The rest of the stuff is in the kitchen. This means I walk past the bar stools once more.

So I got the dog food measured out and placed. Made coffee, and stuck something by Jimmy Dean in the microwave. I also filled a baggie with some cereal cube things that I took for my lunch break. Then I walked back between the bar stools and the dining room table to let the dogs in. I returned to the kitchen to retrieve Jimmy Dean and eat. I also had to cut and feed my sourdough starter today.

What’s that? About four trips through that five foot area between the bar stools and the dining set?

There were two small bags of King Arthur flour, and my bin was empty. I added one bag to the Tupperware bin, but left the other one in the pantry. (More on this later.)

This whole time, I am looking out over the breakfast bar which abuts the kitchen sink. I used the sink multiple times. I can reach out and touch the bar stools from the sink area.

After the dogs finished eating, I picked up their bowls and headed for my easy chair. This is when I go over email and such, prior to my commute. This meant one more trip through that five foot area between the bar stools and the dining area.

All well and good, bulldogs in my lap, as per usual. Also as per usual, Frankie needed outside a second time. She’s done this since the day she arrived at our house. She needs to go after she eats for some reason.

I got up, tuned around, and headed for the sliding glass door.

One of the bar stools was away from the counter. Directly in front of my bedroom door, between its usual place and the dining set. It was also turned around backwards. I could not have walked past it without hitting it. I nearly couldn’t have come out of the bedroom without moving it. I would have had to walk past it five times without noticing.

My first thought was the dogs. They’re bulldogs, and bash and bluster their way through things… But we have a hard surface floor. It would have made noise. The dogs would have knocked the stool over before they managed to move it three feet and turn it around backwards.

So what happened? I have no idea.

***

In other news, let’s return to that second bag of flour in the pantry. Frankie has no idea what happened to it this afternoon. (Note the hard surface flooring.)

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day

I didn’t get some things done, but made good progress on others. I still need to create a couple of shticks for Lisa’s radio show, and I have one more to schedule. That one is weeks out, but the author requested a specific date and I want to accommodate her. I know how I feel when making plans. I would want to know it’s a done deal. It is a done deal, I just need to get on with it.

I dedicated my time to my own fiction. It came to around 3000 words. I don’t have a complete count, but somewhere around that mark. My main character has to cover up one eye, because the townsfolk decided it’s the evil eye. I also created four tiny monsters with more to come. They haven’t even taken to sea yet, and that’s one of my biggest obstacles here. Act one involves the guy trying to live up to his father’s reputation. He will decide to take his own path, and that’s the part that occurs at sea.

Doesn’t sound like a problem, until you think of promoting it as a pirate story. Will people stick with it long enough to get to the parts I advertise? It may be something that sorts itself out in the second or third pass. Right now I have to draft the damned thing.

I might carry those flighty readers along with some symbolism, and an eye patch could be part of that. His eye is fine, but it’s now permanently red. That scares the general population.

I’m also dealing with travels and conversations. This is touchy, because I want to do some world building and have some of these conversations. However, too many campfires and such might irritate some folks. Like I said, this is the draft process

I’d like to work on it tomorrow, but I need to keep up with the promises I made others. I may need to have a Lisa Burton Radio day and be happy about it.

In other news, my bread rose for about 30 hours and turned out awesome. (Awesomely? Is that a word?) Old What’s Her Face bought me a banneton, also called a brotform, for Christmas. This is a special basket for raising free-standing loaves of bread. I’ve never used it before. It helps the loaf retain its shape on the final rise. It also adds a cool spiral shape to the top crust.

Today was the day. I also used my peel and baking stone for this one. Here’s how it turned out, and it was great with our corned beef.

You can see the spirals the basket made before I added the expansion slices. To use the peel, also in the photo, I added some corn meal to it and the baking stone. This isn’t for flavor, it’s to keep things from sticking. My only mistake was taking the bread from the brotform while the oven reached temperature. This gave it time to spread and I should have done it at the last second. Next time: Dump, slice, bake in about five seconds.

It already has a wonderful sour flavor, and that’s the result of the long rise. My bread usually doesn’t develop that until the next day. No idea why.

I’m skipping the Irish whisky tonight. Old What’s Her Face bought me some cool Irish stout from a small brewery. Beer is very Irish too, so I’m not disappointed.

Hope all of you who are celebrating do it with care. We’re staying home and may rent Justice League on TV. Maybe.

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Friday flex-day

I started fairly early this morning. No real reason, it was just time to wake up. I fed the dogs, and my sourdough starter, before taking on my chores. I changed a few lightbulbs and finally updated the clock in my truck while the coffee cooked.

I scheduled Lisa Burton Radio for next week, then scheduled a promotional post of my own for later in the month. I have a group post in a few weeks, and made my minor contribution to that, but it still needs some graphics.

I also went on Pixabay and found some images for my next Story Empire post. It’s a few weeks away, so I can mull the whole thing over, but the images are set aside. I also grabbed a mud image while I was there.

This is the season of mud in the American West. It might not come to pass this year, because winter didn’t amount to much, but it’s still that time of year. Sorry Easterners, I know what you’re going through. I cropped the mud photo and used it for the background image on my blog.

Then I used my feeble art skills and updated my banner. Since mud is a season of change, the banner reflects a coming change too. Lisa’s snow sculpture of The Hat is melting, but it seems to have attracted something else. Perhaps it is a coming change.

I have a gazillion interviews to work through, and I’m not going to kill myself getting to them. A posting schedule of one per week allows me to take a breather here and there.

I should dedicate some time to gearing up for my next promotional push. I’ll probably need some pre-written posts, some victims hosts to send them to, and a plan of some kind.

I’m going to use that time to play with my new project, tentatively called The Voyage of The Lanternfish.

There is a corned beef thawing in the kitchen, and if I time it right, there will be some fresh sourdough to accompany it. My theme is a little here and there this weekend.

I might not make more than an editing pass on Lanternfish. I want to go back and add some color to the cast now that I am more familiar with them. The buxom tavern girl has an embarrassing history, and the runaway slave guy needs fleshed out too.

Wouldn’t be surprised if I add new words before the weekend is over.

I wonder how I’m fixed for Irish Whisky? Maybe I’d better go check.

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