Tag Archives: Story Empire

Made a Task List

It’s my two day weekend, so I don’t have high hopes here. I also have to go to a work convention starting Tuesday so productivity is kind of against me.

Old What’s Her Face is going to Art in the Park tomorrow with a co-worker. They generally have more fun without me, and can spend money without my disapproving glances. We have plans for beer and pizza tomorrow night. My only opportunity is likely the few hours she’s at her artsy thing.

My task list is loaded with blog sized projects. I can be productive if I keep the goals smaller. I want to add a few things to a living document I keep about writing. I have another interview to work on, and I need to get something ready for my next Story Empire appearance.

Sean Harrington made me some simple text-based graphics for The Hat, and I can probably add those in. Beyond that, it’s all dumb luck, but I added a few more things to my list anyway.

We bought and watched Resident Evil: The Final Chapter tonight. Gotta say Milla Jovovich has held up well over the years. She still has the best brows in Hollywood.

I tend to keep my character descriptions sparse. I do this on purpose most of the time, so readers can use their own imaginations. When the appearance is important, ala Lisa Burton, I will add more. In The Hat, Lizzie is described as being brunette, and she gripes about her “stupid long face.” That’s about it. Watching this movie tonight, Jovovich also has a long face, and it doesn’t look bad at all. I don’t intend for Lizzie to look bad, but some self depreciation never hurt a main character. It kind of goes hand in hand with self doubt.

Anyway, I’ll let you know if I make any progress.



Filed under Writing

Not bad for a flex day

Like all flex days, this one started off with a task list last night. The day started with my alarm dog at about six o'clock.

Otto and Frankie play together all the time now. A big part of this involves him feeling much better. We took more detailed X-rays about two weeks ago, and had an additional expert look at them. He has several problems, but there was concern about one specific issue. It involves bone tissue that is degenerating and regrowing.

Our vet said the possibilities were bone cancer, and a bone infection. The cancer is almost unheard of with a dog Otto's age, and the infection is also extremely rare. He wanted to try an antibiotic in an abundance of caution, but thinks maybe the X-ray simply showed something that isn't there.

Here's the deal, though. After two days of antibiotic, Otto started feeling better. After a week, I have my boy back. He runs around, plays ball, and is acting like his old self. He still limps on occasion, but two weeks ago he was dragging himself across the floor by his front legs.

How the hell does anything get a bone infection?

They've been absolutely crazy today.

Oh, come on guys, you're making me look bad now. They were playing, I swear.

I wound up doing some maintenance on my part of the Story Empire blog, and finished that. About an hour ago, I found even more to do there, but still consider it a win.

I also explored and joined a new app a friend told me about. Something called Triberr, but don't ask me anything about it just yet.

I finished the edits on a 5500 word short story for an anthology, and delivered the edited version to them.

Edits on the Yak Guy Project are finished. I'm going to put it aside for a while to work on other projects. Quite honestly, I'm thinking about submitting it to a publisher. I haven't submitted anything for years, but maybe the hybrid author is the way to go. Right now, I just need time to think about it all.

I got another five star review today for the Second Experimental Notebook. I need to write a third one of these, and they make a great side project. Not just yet though.

First I need more micro-fiction for October. I intended to write one today, but never got that far. I might rough one out while my ballgame is on.

Ah, here you go. See all happy today.


Filed under Uncategorized

Vacation Update

I skipped my Sunday evening post to honor the guest I hosted. I'm typing this right now with Frankie straddled across one leg. She's the smaller of the puppies and more into cuddling than Nyx is.

Nyx is crashed out on the floor in a typical bulldog pose. Four feet in the air and snoring away. Otto is restless and uncomfortable. His pain medication seems to be helping, but not enough. I think we need to go back to the vet and see if there's more that can be done. I miss my happy-go-lucky dog, and he's more like an old dog that just sleeps all the time.

I've been getting things done, despite my little typing handicap. The Enhanced League is with the formatter, and we've exchanged a few emails. I've been working on blog tour posts, and have four of them roughed out, two as me and two from Lisa so she can distribute her posters. I need more, but it's progress.

I got my critique submissions all printed and worked up. I even put them in the truck so I won't forget them at tomorrow night's meeting.

Somewhere in the mix, I put my final touches on the Story Empire post and it went live this morning.

I got the initial shtick out for a couple of the Lisa Burton Radio posts. First finished, first posted on those. I need to work up a few more of these, because authors all work at different speeds. Some of them are waiting for publication dates and that's wise too. I will massage the schedule to time with their release dates.

The precursory research for my time travel story is done, but I need to do some deeper research. I also did a bit of research for my Fourth of July post. It's mostly a graphic, but I still want a few words.

For the remaining work, I need to finish reading the craft book I've been working through. There is also a novel I'd like to start reading. I need to write more blog tour posts, and a few per day feels like the right pace. I never know how many volunteers I'll get until I ask for them, and I like to be prepared. I'll have my own critiques to address after tomorrow night.

Then there is The Yak Guy Project. I swore I'd never release another book during the summer, but it looks like Enhanced League will come out in July. That might not be so bad for a 99¢ special that deals with baseball, a summer sport. Yak Guy might just have to wait until September, even if I get it ready before that. The challenge is to get it ready now. I can't procrastinate and cause it to come out months later.

I just checked on Lisa Burton Radio, which I track with another living document. It makes a statement about our society, that a nice post called Dear Lisa doesn't get any response. She pulls on her booty shorts and shakes her sign and gets twenty-one and counting responses. I've learned a lot about women in our society from Lisa, and tried to address some of that in The Enhanced League. (Fingers crossed. As a man, I may not have gotten it perfect.)

For the rest of today, I may read, I may write guest posts, I may edit on Yak guy. My son tells me there is an update coming on Diablo III that provides a new character class that we both want to try. It's supposed to come out this week, so I may chuck the whole thing and play video games. I am on vacation after all.



Filed under Writing

Runs, Hits, Errors

This was not an overly productive day today. The big thing was managing to pay all the bills before I leave town.

I managed to get through my critique, and made all the changes I could. This particular critique had more good remarks than bad ones. Believe me, it doesn't always happen that way.

That's really about it on the productivity front. I spent too much time playing with the dog, and I watched a baseball game. We finally decided to take the plunge and get the MLB package, now I can watch baseball all summer.

I've reached a point where I have to change part of my plans. I cannot put off editing of The Enhanced League until I finish the draft of The Yak Guy Project. That was a good plan, before we drifted into Spring. With Summer fast approaching, I'd like to get The Enhanced League out there.

This isn't a horrible option, because I don't require the silence to edit. In some ways, a bit of peripheral noise keeps me from getting into the story and lets me concentrate on the line by line stuff. This means evenings will be spent editing. I'll take my iPad to Louisville, but may not have time to work on that kind of thing. At least I can answer comments, emails, and may get to update my blog. I can also follow along with the RRBC party if I wake up early every day.

Then there is my error… I told all of you I have the post tomorrow at Story Empire. This is because when I checked the scheduled posts, mine was next. This is not the case. My post is up Wednesday, and someone else has to post tomorrow. Sorry about that, but with my iPad in tow, I can mange comments on Wednesday. Visit tomorrow anyway. Story Empire is made up of some awesome authors and you're bound to find something good.

Tonight, I'll probably start on my word searches. This is part of my editing process, because after this much time I know what errors I usually make. I have a living document with them and can go through them in order.

Tomorrow, I am going to start with The Yak Guy Project. It's my last good day to draft new material for about two weeks. Fingers crossed.


Filed under Writing

And I’ll never have that plan again.

I took a vacation day today to finish a couple of projects. While the bookmobile tour was on, there were still projects that needed tending.

My truck needed to be serviced, so I made the first appointment of the day – 7:30 AM. I decided not to change my alarm clock, and left it like any regular work day at 4:00.

I have a party post to write for the Rave Reviews Book Club's month long blog party. I also have a couple of fresh new Lisa Burton Radio posts to work up. I decided to route home past Staples to buy some shipping boxes. I'm going to be giving away a couple more coffee mugs during my party stop, so I decided to buy extras.

There is also a book I want to finish reading. Besides that, I promised a friend a beta read, and another friend an ARC read with the intent of a review. I only mention this to illustrate that I need to kick it in gear. New writing has come to a standstill, but manuscripts don't spoil. They'll be there when I get back.

My whole life seems like one broken plan after another, and today was no exception. After enough broken plans a guy gets experience at dealing with it somehow. The only smart thing I did was to take my iPad with me to the dealership.

Turns out, my truck was overdue for several odd pieces of maintenance. You know the ones I'm talking about; flush the brakes, power steering, etc. They were available to do it right then and there. The desk kid said it would take another two hours. He was wrong, it was more like three.

I managed to finish Type & Cross, by Staci Troilo, while I waited. I left her a five star review about an hour into my wait. Staci did a fabulous job on this book, and I recommend it to all of you. Tell me if I'm unique here, but as an author, I tend to read more critically these days. I intend it as a compliment to her writing that I haven't been so absorbed in a book in years.

Hey, not just the finished book, but the review too. I still had hours to wait, but didn't know that at the time.

The dealership had absolutely terrible wifi. This seems to be a trend with businesses, and I don't understand it. It's like they offer it, because everyone else is offering it, but it feels cheap not to have it functional. It can't cost them any more to have good wifi, but it feels that way. Some commercial wifi will not function with email either, and this was one of them. I wound up linking to my phone's signal and working that way.

Never underestimate the hours that correspondence and social media takes either. This involves trying to support those who support me on Twitter, Facebook, and others. Eventually, I moved on and managed a partial shtick for one of the radio interviews. By pigtailing into my phone, I got it sent to the author too.

That's about it. I should have worked up the other Lisa Burton interview. I could have started my RRBC post, but I just didn't.

I stayed up until midnight playing video games with my son, then got up at 4:00. Quite honestly, I ran out of gas.

When I left the dealership, I headed for Staples to get my shipping boxes. About half way there, I realized I'd forgotten my coffee cup. This is one of those metal thermos style cups, and I didn't want to abandon it. I called the dealership and they promised to hold it for me. I decided to go to Staples and loop back for it.

Things are spread out in Boise, and I wound up spending a lot of time on Eagle Road. Eagle Road is always bumper to bumper, and the loop was about twenty miles. I pulled into the garage at about one o'clock this afternoon.

Funny thing, the last time I had my truck serviced, I left the exact same coffee cup and had to loop back for it. Maybe I should buy one of those belt loop things to keep track of it.

At the paycheck job every single day is like that. I commute while forming a plan of attack. By the time I boot up my computer that plan is out the window. It really stresses me out, and I think it's part of the reason I have high blood pressure. When it comes to my vacation time it's intolerable.

One of the things I try to do is avoid days like this in my writing career. The only deadlines are the ones I set. I vow not to start another manuscript after I finish Yak Guy. The Enhanced League has a cover and promotional posters are in the works. I need to edit, seek betas, make adjustments, and get it out the door. Yak Guy is right on its heels. The realistic time to start the next project seems like once those books are available on Amazon.

I give you permission to kick my butt if I post about writing The Hat prior to that time.

I have the two promised reads to get through, and I'll start the beta project right away. After that, I need to read some things of my own choosing. Every book I've read for nearly two years has been something for a friend and supporter. They support me – I support them, that's how it's supposed to work. I fear the day when I have to say no. Does anyone else out there struggle with that?

So here I am, updating my blog while watching a baseball game. The Diamondbacks look like they're in trouble this time, but I took great glee in seeing them in first place this morning. That hasn't happened in years, and it's probably fleeting, but it felt nice. I think I'll take my own Lisa Burton mug, make some grandfather style tea, and start formulating a plan for those two blog projects.


Filed under Writing

Boats and Such, by Mae Clair #StoryEmpire

It’s my pleasure to welcome Mae Clair back to Entertaining Stories. She’s parked her bookmobile outside the writing cabin and has some fun things to tell us about.


Hi, friends! I’m jazzed to be visiting with Craig during the Story Empire Roadshow blog tour. If you’re just now connecting, there are posts at all SE author blogs today, with tour prizes scattered throughout. Be sure to check the full slate of events HERE to view the latest happenings.

And don’t forget to follow along. Grand prizes are up for grabs when the tour is complete (mine is a $10.00 Amazon Gift Card), but there are oodles of goodies along the way. The more you follow and comment, the more your chances to win. I’ve even got a surprise in store for today. J

Now, we know this is a Roadshow, but I’m going to turn it into a Boat Show for a short time. Why boats?

I’ve got my mystery/romance novel Eclipse Lake, discounted to .99 cents through April. Notice the word “lake” in the title? You can’t have a lake without boats! Everything from jon boats to a speed boat makes an appearance in this story focused around an unsolved murder.

Although I rarely go boating any more, I spent a good half of my life around boats, starting with a 17’ Crestliner Tri hull. After that, my husband and I moved onto a 21’ pontoon. That boat stayed in the family for decades. We took it bay fishing, river fishing, and even out into the ocean when it was exceptionally calm. I’ve been caught in numerous storms, marooned because of weather a time or two, and been caught in the fog. I think the only place we didn’t take that boat was on a lake. Right now we have a small jon boat designated for lake fishing, but it hasn’t been out in years. Fishing, crabbing, clamming—they’re memories I look back on with fondness.

A few of my characters in Eclipse Lake get to experience boating, mostly the teens. Writing those passages, it was easy to turn back the clock and remember what it was like to soar across the bay or idle off a shaded riverbank. To this day the odor of motor oil mixed with bay water is one I enjoy (yeah, weird, I know, but they say scent is the strongest trigger for memories).

What about you? Do you enjoy boating? What about fishing?

While you’re considering, here’s a short excerpt from Eclipse Lake:


“You want to go to a picnic?” Dane was surprised his son was talking to him, more that Jesse seemed marginally excited by the idea. Little had sparked his interest since their plane touched down in Pennsylvania.

“Yeah. Keith says it’s not a bad time. He goes every year.” Jesse was camped out in a chair in front of the TV with a plate balanced on his lap. He divided his attention between a ham sandwich with chips, and a cheesy B science-fiction movie overrun by mutant tarantulas.
Standing at the snack bar in the kitchen, Dane had a clear view into the living room. “Is the girl going?”

“Her name’s Paige.”

“Is Paige going?”

“Yeah.” Jesse munched a handful of chips, still looking at the TV where a man in a business suit was being ripped apart in a tug-of-war between two gargantuan spiders. “Why?”

“I’d like to meet her.”

No comment on that. Apparently his kid’s communication skills only extended so far when competing with food and bad sci-fi.

Dane shook his head and returned his attention to a number of pending files and reports he’d unpacked from his briefcase. Earlier, Jesse had dumped his keys on the snack bar—probably hoping to be free of the BMW—along with a handful of change, some crumpled fives and tens, and a wadded-up receipt. Knowing the receipt would be from Clyde’s marina, Dane moved to place it in his briefcase for safekeeping.

“Jess.” His eyes fell on the dollar amount. “You rented a speed boat?”

“We wanted to cruise around.” Another handful of chips. Another unfortunate townsperson being turned into arachnid appetizers. “What’s the big deal? It’s not like you don’t have the money.”

Tired of competing with screams from the TV, Dane walked into the room, found the remote and shut off the television. “The big deal is called responsibility.”

“Hey, I was watching that.”

“Too bad.” Dane raised the receipt. “Part of this is coming out of your allowance.”
Jesse rolled his eyes. “Whatever.”

Again with the attitude. After the disaster he’d made with Ellie, Dane wasn’t in the mood for Jesse’s sulking. When had his kid become such a hardcase? Trying to hold his temper in check, he walked back to the kitchen. “I don’t think the picnic is a good idea.”

That struck a nerve.

“Why?” Jesse bolted from his chair and trailed behind him.

Because I’m sick of everyone’s shit. Because it’ll just end in disaster once someone realizes who I am.
He ground his teeth, trying to hold things in perspective. His sole reason for returning to Onyx had been to bring Jonah and Jesse together. He’d made certain his son had financial stability in life, but wanted him to have emotional stability too. So far, all he’d done was fail.


And here’s the blurb:

Small towns hold the darkest secrets.

Fifteen years after leaving his criminal past and estranged brother behind, widower Dane Carlisle returns to his hometown on the banks of sleepy Eclipse Lake. Now, a successful businessman, he has kept his troubled past a secret from most everyone, including his seventeen-year-old son.

But memories in small towns are bitter and long.

Ellie Sullivan, a nature photographer for a national magazine, has a habit of ping-ponging across the map. Her latest assignment leads her to Eclipse Lake where she becomes caught up in the enmity between Dane, his brother Jonah, and a vengeful town sheriff. When freshly-discovered skeletal remains are linked to an unsolved murder and Dane’s past, Ellie is left questioning her growing attraction for a man who harbors long-buried secrets.

Eclipse Lake is a full-length novel of mystery, sweet romance and family drama.
Presently on sale!

Purchase a copy from Amazon • .99 Cents until April 7

Thanks for visiting with me today. Don’t forget to see what the other SE authors have going on during the Story Empire Roadshow. Leave a comment to be eligible for my grand prize drawing for a $10.00 Amazon gift card (the more you follow my tour and comment, the more your chances to win).

For today’s tour stop, I’ll also draw one randomly selected name for an ebook win. Winner’s choice of Solstice Island, Food for Poe, Myth and Magic or A Thousand Yesteryears.

Connect with Mae Clair
Website and Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram |Goodreads |Google+ | Pinterest
Newsletter | Story Empire


Filed under Writing

The Medici Protectorate Series

Thank you, Craig, for letting me visit today. Hi, Craig’s followers! Stick around, because not only is Story Empire giving away prizes during this tour, at the end of this post, I’m going to have a deal for you, too.

So, how many of you remember bookmobiles from your childhood? I have fond memories of library time in elementary school, when once a month the bookmobile would drive in, and instead of us going to the library, we’d get to go out to the playground, look through the wonderful selection of books that rolled up to our door, and make selections that we otherwise wouldn’t have access to.

Other kids looked forward to recess or gym class. I looked forward to music, art, and library time. Particularly Bookmobile Day.
I’ve always had an affinity for the arts, and that hasn’t changed. Even my career finds me working with words, graphics, and sometimes music (when I create book trailers).

Isn’t it great that we had such resources as kids? Why not as adults, too?

As you may already know, we Story Empire authors have decided to restore the bookmobile concept. We’re all taking our work and going on the road, traveling to different sites and letting readers see a new and different selection of fiction—the Story Empire Roadshow.

To that end, today I’d like to introduce you to my Medici Protectorate series. This series is dear to me for many reasons, and I’m happy to get to take it on tour this week.

Today, I’m sharing covers, blurbs, teasers, and excerpts from the first two novels (Bleeding Heart and Mind Control), and as a bonus, a never-before-seen first look at an excerpt from the soon-to-be-released Body Armor. (Note: The following teasers and excerpts contain innuendo and rough language. Reader discretion is advised.)

Bleeding Heart Blurb:
Francesca discovers she is the secret legacy of the Medici, prophesied to return Italy to its former glory. Targeted for assassination and ignorant of her enemy’s identity, she is forced under the protection of Gianni, a warrior destined to defend her. As their worlds collide in passion and violence, Gianni will need to conquer his demons in time to save them both.

Bleeding Heart Excerpt:
After a quick check of all the offices and locks, the building was closed and the alarms set for the evening. Gianni settled Franki in his car and turned to Coz and Nico. “Go stake out the restaurant. Make sure the girls are okay. I’m taking Franki back to our place for a while.”

“Do you think Mike’ll be okay with that?” Nico asked.

“Do you think I care? I need some time with her where we can just… be.”

“We’ll be quiet when we get back.”

“I hope I can say the same.” They laughed as Coz and Nico headed off to Vinnie’s car.

Gianni joined Franki in his. “Before we go anywhere, let’s just enjoy the view of the city for a minute,” she said.

“It is stunning at night.” He took her hand in his and played with her fingers. He looked out over the vista of the city, its lights reflecting off the three rivers winding past it. Stunning, but it paled in comparison to her.

Mind Control Blurb:
Vinnie Falco copes with his own identity issues while he struggles to protect the one prophesized Medici descendant, Jo Notaro, who refuses to embrace her heritage. He and the Brotherhood race across the globe with the charges they’re sworn to protect to discover who plots to destroy them. Both Vinnie and Jo use past hurts as emotional shields. With lives in peril, can they find the strength to overcome their tragic pasts?

Mind Control Excerpt:
Before he turned to begin work, their gazes locked. Light from the chandelier bathed one side of his face, turning his olive skin a radiant bronze in the glow. Shadows darkened the other side, his high cheekbones and strong jawline hidden from the only illumination in the room. He was light and dark, good and bad, angel and demon.

Which side would he choose to show her if she stepped closer?

Which side did she want to meet?

He wiped the area and handed the items back to her. His hands lingered a bit before releasing the bottle and rag to her. When their fingers touched, she knew the next part would be the hardest for her to get through.

Back at the collection of items she’d gotten out, she grabbed the epoxy putty. “This has to be kneaded until it’s soft and malleable.” She started squeezing it between her fingers.

“Soft wasn’t exactly what I had in mind,” he said. He reached over and interlaced his fingers with hers, working the putty with her. The heat of his hands quickly warmed the putty, preparing it for application. Even when it was ready, he didn’t stop.

“We only have a three-minute window,” she managed to get out between shallow breaths.

“I’m going to need much longer than three minutes.”

Body Armor Excerpt:
“Don, it’s almost three-thirty. As it is, we’ll probably get busted coming in.”

“Then we might as well have a good reason. Like retrieving Mama.”

“But I don’t know if she’s even there. It’s better if I come back.”

“We don’t have time for that. And I’m not getting in that car until you swear we’re going to get her.”

A little deception never hurt anyone. Not when it was for her own good. “Fine. Get in the car.”

“If you don’t turn around and head back the way we came, I’ll jump out and walk there. I’ll go right up to a guard or knock on the damn door.”

“Why do you have to be so stubborn?”

“Why do you?” She glared at him.

“You’re incorrigible.”

“And you’re wasting time.”

He growled. When she recoiled, he softened his voice. A little. “Get in the damn car, Donni.”

“Are we going to get Mama?”

“I’ll see what I can do. Get in the fucking car.”

She gave him a sweet smile and walked around the hood of the SUV.
They were so screwed.

He got in and started the engine. “You sure about this? It’ll be dangerous. Next to impossible.”

“I’m sure.”

Nico shook his head and pulled onto the road. As he drove around the boulder, he noticed five sets of bright eyes staring at them from a thick outcropping of overgrowth.



Thanks again, Craig, for hosting me here today. It’s a pleasure to be here. And thanks to the rest of you for indulging me while I shared this brief look at some of my work. As a thank you, I’m offering one commenter a free eBook of their choosing, not just from the Medici Protectorate series (although you can choose one of those), but from any of my works (the complete list can be found by clicking here). Another commenter (US only) will be sent a Medici Protectorate bookmark. Good luck!

Oh, one more thing I should mention. This week only, Bleeding Heart is discounted to $.99 and Mind Control to $1.99. Click the links for purchase information.

Staci Troilo

Social Media Links:
Web | Blog | Newsletter Signup | Twitter | Amazon | Additional Social Media Links


Filed under Writing