Tag Archives: Star Wars

A long weekend

I took Friday as a vacation day, and Monday was my flex day. This was just what I needed, to be honest. It doesn’t mean I wasn’t productive, but I didn’t hit it full speed either.

Start with Friday. Old What’s Her Face had to work, so this was my writing day. I tried to hit it hard, because I didn’t expect a better opportunity. I wound up adding 4100 new words to Lanternfish.

I’ve been setting the stage for some of this for a few chapters now. I started to reveal the con job my crew is going to have to pull once they arrive in the war zone. I also have some seeds that haven’t sprouted yet and look forward to those chapters.

Then I sent Lanternfish into a hot welcome in the form of two Hollish warships. With their little fleet, only Lanternfish is capable of defending herself, unless there is an even older battle tactic that might still have some life in it.

I also finally introduced my ghost into the story. This is an old Japanese legend, and honestly, Japanese ghosts are scary as hell. This involves haunted items. I did a ton of research on them, then made my own up to fit the framework. The result was bloody and gruesome, and I’m well pleased with it.

A root monster earned a name (kind of), and they made a mistake involving a golden phallus. Have to keep some of the humor going here.

My wife was off Saturday and Sunday. We’re doing our best to stay home, and did small things around the house. I pruned my Asian pear a bit, and have more to go. I continued with thinning its fruit. I should have sprayed it for coddling moth, but haven’t done that yet.

We turned on Disney+ and watched the new Star Wars movie. We went to it in the theater, but now that it’s that simple we decided to watch it again.

I dabbled with other writing projects, adding a few words to my short story, and a few more to Lanternfish. I’m debating parking Lizzie and the Hat now, until one of those gets finished. This is always a possibility, and it feels like time.

I had one goal for today, and that was to send a chapter of Lanternfish to my critique group. My iPad seems to have a haunting of its own today. When I selected the chapter, it froze up and wouldn’t let me do anything. I closed the app, and that will sometimes break the strangle hold. Not this time. It decided to arbitrarily delete the last two chapters I’d written.

Rather than throwing the stupid thing against the wall. I put it down and made a pot of coffee. About once a year, Old What’s Her Face buys me a can of chickory as a treat, and I used it. This gave me time to think. Apple just had an update and that could be part of my problem. Doesn’t solve anything, but it came to me in the kitchen.

Pages gives me options upon selection of a part of my work, copy/cut/ delete. Maybe it cut the section and was still on the clipboard. I could simply paste it back… Big nope. It had been deleted.

As a last feeble effort I tried the undo button. It restored everything that I’d lost, and I was able to copy and paste it for my critique group. It’s a miracle that I didn’t reboot the whole thing, which would have cleared the undo button.

Today was a possible writing day, too. I continued, but after my adventure, didn’t accomplish much. If you add on the dabbling with the short story and today, my whole weekend probably landed at about 5000 words. Good progress any way you slice it.

Tomorrow is working from home, and Wednesday I get my turn in the office. I have enough work for one day, but really need to go in for more files and such.


Filed under Writing

Entertainment weekend

Old What’s Her Face and I went to the new Star Wars movie yesterday. It’s too early in the game to include spoilers, so I won’t break it down. Suffice it to say we had a great time, and enjoyed the story.

It went places I never expected, had a bit of a plot foible, along with one that involves gravity and atmosphere in space. Nothing unusual for commercial science-fantasy. It also didn’t include some of what I wanted to see. (Rose Tico) I’m fine with that, because I didn’t write it. I was there to be entertained, and I was. It was hard to avoid all the fanboy stuff ahead of time, so I knew a few things before I walked in.

I feel for Disney in a way. They have to take a gigantic franchise, and if it’s to continue, live with what’s come before. They have to dispose of the original characters before they can get people invested in new ones. I think they did a reasonable job of this, and don’t envy them their task. I enjoyed the film, and will watch it again when it comes to cable or Disney+ eventually.

We also checked out The Witcher on Netflix. Everyone is touting this as the new Game of Thrones — it isn’t. It isn’t bad, but it’s no GOT either. We watched a few episodes last night, and the plot still isn’t firmly established. It looks like there are three characters we’re supposed to be following, but we don’t have any kind of goal established.

It’s pretty cool visually, and the action scenes are outstanding. The timeline is maddening, because the last one we watched involved a bunch of people who were killed in the first episode now suddenly back to life. That’s only in the Witcher’s timeline, the other two characters appeared to be in the current timeline. I don’t get it, and whatever they were trying to get across isn’t explained well enough.

We’re going to keep watching it, and I suppose that places it in the plus column. The Superman dude still can’t act, but he may have found a part that doesn’t require too much of him. Gerralt, the Witcher, mostly grunts, nods, and fights. Might work for one season.

In other news, the free days for The Playground are down to free hours. With your sharing, I moved a ton of copies. Maybe it will bring some new eyes to my work. If you didn’t get a copy, and still want one, chop-chop. Here is the link http://a-fwd.com/asin=B01D6EF6RI

We made it into single digits at one point. I think that’s pretty fantastic, and might consider another free push in the future. Now that I’m writing series, I can see some merit in doing a push for the first volume after a few more exist.

Hope you’re all having a great weekend. Mine appears to be all about cinematic drama, so there is no writing going on. If I’m feeling ambitious, I have some critiques I can address to make sure Lanternfish stays on course.


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Looking toward the weekend

I doubt I’m going to do any writing between now and the new year. It could happen, but it’s not high on my list. We have tickets to the new Star Wars movie tomorrow, and that’s my focus now.

We’ll probably catch up on The Mandalorian sometime, too. While we’re there, I have a hunch some other old films are on my agenda.

The free days for The Playground run through the weekend. I know there’s no money in this, but it could bring some new eyes to my work. The fact that some of the characters make a reappearance in Viral Blues could push a few folks that direction. The results were positive yesterday. Check out this horrible screen capture I took last night.

Honestly, “Occult Horror” might not be the best descriptor for this story, but number 12 is still pretty cool. “Paranormal Suspense” is probably a better descriptor, and 33 isn’t bad at all. You can grab your free copy through Sunday (December 22, 2019) at this link http://a-fwd.com/asin=B01D6EF6RI

The hottest new toys of the Christmas season are the Playground Network dolls. They contain a worldwide social network for children. Except the network is controlled by a ruthless businessman with dreams of power.

To reach his goals he turns to the occult. Will our children make up his personal army? Could we have an enemy soldier in every home?

Gina Greybill is a cancer survivor who stumbles into her own brush with the paranormal. She wants nothing to do with it, but may be the only one who can bring down the Playground Network. To do it she’ll have to embrace her new situation, and recover the next generation of Playground software.

There is competition for the software in the form of a brutal thug named Clovis. He’s bigger, more ruthless, and more experienced. To top it all off, he has a head start.

The Playground is suitable for mature readers, due to violence and mature themes.

I hope you all have a great weekend, and May the Force be with you.


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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.


Filed under Writing

Temporarily out of service

My daughter just headed home. I always love seeing her, and we had a nice visit. She and Old What’s Her Face went shopping yesterday while I was at work, so I know they had a nice visit too.

Her work schedule isn’t one that allows actual full weekends, so we take what we can get.

The blog tour for Lanternfish is officially over. (Try not to cheer too loud.) This is the longest tour I’ve ever done, but I had a lot of hosting offers and didn’t want to let anyone down.

I’ve always been blessed in that my regulars will follow the tours, at least in part. Some of you made every stop and I’m so grateful for you. This is a benefit to those who hosted me too. It increases their blog volume, and they might gain a new follower along the way. My hosts were all pretty interesting people, so it’s fun to get acquainted that way.

We sold some books, had some fun conversations, and kept each post unique. It’s pretty tiring though. I have a habit of checking the comments for several days. I don’t want anyone to think I snubbed them. Every night, I surfed back across four or five posts to see if there were new comments. I’ll keep doing that for the last couple of posts.

It’s time to kick back and watch for reviews. Hopefully, there will be some. I try to reblog those that do blog reviews, but Amazon is what I’m watching.

My mind is filled with creative ideas this morning, but I’m not going to do any writing. This is a good weekend to spend some time with the Muse. I need to string some scenes into the overall plot of my stories. A bit of thought makes for better tales.

Work was crazy this week too, and is scheduled to continue into next week.

Right now, I’m watching the original Star Wars, except it’s the one they added extra crap to. They should have just left it alone.

We hope to work in date night tonight. No specific plans, but probably dinner somewhere. (Update, Old What’s Her Face just made reservations at PF Chang’s.)

For me, I’ll check blog comments, but otherwise, I’m temporarily out of service.


Filed under Blogging, Writing

Saw The Last Jedi, let’s talk about it

My wife and I saw the new Star Wars film yesterday. The half mile walk and several hours in a theater seat didn’t do my back any favors, but that isn’t why we’re here today. If you want to avoid spoilers, stop reading here. I won’t be offended. On the other hand, I may do some offending beyond the spoilers.

I liked the film and it has everything I’ve come to expect from a Star Wars movie. That means some good and some bad things. Before I delve too deep, let me qualify this. I saw the very first movie when it was released in the theater. I went to it eleven times that summer, with a variety of dates, because youth.

It was so new and flashy; no ships on wires in front of a black sheet, no claymation characters either, or those reptiles with things glued on them. (Okay maybe one that stormtroopers rode around on.) I also fixated on how poorly it was cast. Harrison Ford was great, Americans knew Alec Guinness because he blew up that bridge etc. Even recognized a few of the old horror actors as various generals and such. Luke and Leia however were not great actors. I defend this by checking their careers beyond Star Wars. As characters, Leia gets a pass because the damsel in distress works. We got some buy in, and the fact that she participated in her own rescue was cool. That fake accent was awful. I wanted to throttle Luke, but maybe that’s just me.

Down the road, Lando was blah. Liam Neeson was awesome. Child Anakin was awesome. The teenage version sucked. There is a theme here. In the Star Wars universe, the actor has a large part of whether the character sells. My thought is that some of this comes down to the writers. These weren’t parts where you couldn’t fail to love the character.

In the modern version, we have the familiar three pronged group. The overbearing pilot, the female is the Jedi wannabe, and the reformed stormtrooper guy. I don’t love them from the first appearance in the other movie. They have the role and I went with it.

And then there is Rose. I love me some Rose and want more of her. This is because the writers gave me something to like. Her sister is prettier, shapelier, and has a more heroic job. I would have liked to know her, but she croaked too soon. However, this is what motivates Rose. Rose is like the parental disappointment. She mourns her sister, and takes action. Rose isn’t deadpan either, she has and shows emotions. Sometimes in unexpected ways. This is a character I can get behind.

I don’t know if Rose croaked or not. We saw her die, in another emotional moment. Then we saw her on the ship under a blanket, and her face was uncovered. She did not move or speak. What does this mean. Either pull the blanket over her face, or have her move so we know. In my mind she is the best character in the film.

Oh, and Del Torro was awesome, even if his appearance was short.

I always thought it was smart to have so many masked characters in the Star Wars universe. It’s tough getting actors to stick with a part, but anyone can dress like Chewbacca or C3P0 and you can continue with them. They were all in the film, but pretty minimal. If fact their presence felt kind of forced, and they didn’t seem to matter to the plot.

We now have a situation where all of the original characters are dead. Two actually, and one because of Carrie Fisher that’s going to have to be. Star Wars is in an unenviable position, because you have to acknowledge what came before. This includes the performers who debuted these roles. Then again, they are holding you back from new things. Every minute dedicated to Luke Skywalker is not dedicated to someone else. I’m curious to see where the story leads from here. That and more Rose.

It also feels like we’re coming full circle in some ways. Now we have a random kid who can use the force. Will he be a hero or the new Sith apprentice? Very last few minutes of the film.

How do you guys feel about the Star Wars films? Do you want to defend the casting choices? Maybe Hayden Christensen is your favorite actor. What would you do to pay homage to what came before? Did you like this movie? Tell me your good and bad. Maybe I need to stop watching as a writer myself and just enjoy all the flash.


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For me, I don't think a writer should measure progress by word count alone. Word count matters, but if you're a self publisher like I am, there are other chores that must be dealt with.

I managed about 2000 words on my novel today. I kind of glazed over the Strength card from the tarot deck. I like the symbolism, but don't feel like the lesson here is central to my story. It's there if you look hard, but beyond the yak talking about it, I left it short. Next round will bring in the Hermit.

I worked through my critiques and made a few changes based upon their advice.

I also finally finished the book I was reading. It was a great story, I just took too long reading it. I left the guy a nice review too. Not for nothing, but it takes time to leave a review. I won't snub someone, because I need reviews too. I understand their importance.

I have another book I'm reading, but they're short stories and break into easier reading segments. I want to be finished with it by January though, because I promised a friend a beta read.

I wrote two of four guest posts I promised a different friend. They don't take a lot of time, but I need an idea. I need two in fact before I can write the last posts. I'm supposed to deliver them by the end of the month, and while that sounds like a long time in blogland, I need the ideas behind them.

I did a bit of development on a future Lisa Burton Radio post too. I have a couple of weeks to get it all sorted out, but I'd like to get the first round finished by the weekend.

Short fiction got cheated this weekend. I usually rely upon short form to fill in the gaps, but my family did that for me. We saw the new Star Wars movie too. I enjoyed it, but it was kind of mediocre to my mind.

I'm not off again until Saturday. We'll have grandkids over and it will stay busy for a few days. I'm off until January 3rd though, so I have to make it pay. Before then I can work on Lisa's radio show, and might get to those guest blog posts.

How was your weekend? Did anyone else feel the same way about Star Wars? Tell me about your promotional projects. Tell me about your own word metrics.


Filed under Writing

A change in plans

Old What’s Her Face* decided to drive to Nevada today to visit her brother, and to drop off gifts. She planned to leave when she got off work this morning, and she decided to take Otto with her.

Then it decided to snow last night and into the morning. Traffic was a gridlock, but it was determined the snow would end around noon. She called her brother and he told her not to come. It was still snowing in Nevada, and really piled up. The trip involves leaving Boise at around 2200 feet in elevation, crossing over at around 6000, and dropping down to a mile high in Elko. (5280 feet.) Dealing with deep snow, possible drifting, and icy roads just wasn’t a good idea.

All my plans of spending the weekend with Yak Guy went out the window. I have a real problem working on these deeper projects with distractions around. Otto is insisting on a rousing game of pumpkin ball even as I type this.

This requires a change in the master plan. I might be able to work on some short fiction tomorrow, but we’ll have date night and all the trimmings. Old What’s Her Face bought us tickets to the new Star Wars movie on Sunday too.

These things used to really frustrate me. When I took up the habit of short fiction my frustration eased somewhat. I can still be productive, it just flows in a different direction.

So my wife is safe and warm, and so is my dog. We’ll have a nice date night tomorrow, and we have tickets to a pretty promising movie on Sunday. I’ll crank out some short projects and be happy with them.

Besides, I’m off Monday and my wife has to work. I’ll still have Otto, but his bouts of mania don’t last forever. Maybe Yak Guy can saddle up then for a few hours.

What are your plans for the weekend?

*Not my wife’s actual name.


Filed under Writing

A bunch of stuff, including The Force

Some of this might be a bit spoilerish for the new Star Wars movie. I'll try to be good, but you've been warned.

We've been slugs after all our Christmas merriment. My wife insisted upon the Harry Potter movie marathon yesterday. This completely shuts down any progress I might make.

She can watch television and read a book at the same time. I cannot. When I read or write, I need to isolate myself from other distractions.

I managed a simple transition in my new book, and did a tiny bit of editing. Sometimes, I'll dabble with a short story even with distractions. This usually requires a complete rewrite later, but with short fiction it's not unrealistic.

The short piece isn't quite going the way I want it to. It involves a main character forgetting a bunch of stuff, then trying again. He gathers a sliver more of data every time. It's harder to write than it sounds. It's also a good exercise for me. I'll dabble with it here and there until I am satisfied, or disgusted.

We went to the new Star Wars movie today, and both of us enjoyed it. There is a bit of repetitiveness from the earlier movies, but it's not nearly as bad as Jurassic World in that respect.

Star Wars is trapped by it's own culture, so viewers expect certain things, and deserve to get a taste of those things. Where to divide the new from the old is challenging.

I learned somewhere that a writer should discard the first few ideas. These can be a story concept, but are more likely events and solutions within the story. The reason is to avoid the low hanging fruit.

Star Wars needs The Force, droids, roguish heroes, aliens, and spaceships. I don't know that it needs to destroy a death star for the third time.

Aside from all that, it was a good movie.

I'm looking forward to doing a bit of writing this next weekend. I may work up a look back at 2015, then a business plan for 2016 on the blog.

That's about it. Not productive at all, and I need to be. I feel like I'm wasting time here, and I'm primed to write something.


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