Tag Archives: The Enhanced League

A recipe for dead motivation

My critique group met last night, and we exchanged efforts. Everyone is loving Yak Guy still, so I'm taking that as a good sign.

I stayed up late last night playing Diablo III with my son. We downloaded a new expansion pack and created a couple of new necromancers to fight evil with. This is part of the recipe… up late.

At four AM, Nyx started barking behind my headboard. She squeezed back there and couldn't figure out that she had to go backwards to get out. She decided to try digging at my nightstand instead. I had to remove a king sized mattress, partially slide back the box springs, and motivate her with words I don't usually speak at four o'clock.

I tried to go back to sleep, but at six I gave up. Sleep deprivation, part of the recipe.

Otto returned to the vet yesterday, and he is doing better. He has good days and bad days, but there is nothing wrong with his bones or joints. More pain meds for him for the time being. Emotionally, part of the recipe.

I've hit it hard in the early part of my vacation. I even managed over a thousand words of a short story I agreed to write. The target is 5000 words by August, so I'm in good shape there.

In order to get this vacation, I agreed to a business lunch downtown today. I also agreed to proofread some things from my Executive Director. She emailed what she has and I marked it up and threw it in my truck.

This was the point where my mojo took a leave. I knew I had this meeting. I have to put on pants. From six AM through the meeting, I did virtually nothing. Nyx wanted to cuddle most of the morning and I let her. She never wants to cuddle, that's more Frankie and Otto's thing. Maybe she's being sorry for the headboard incident. I also read a few chapters of a craft book I've been picking away at.

I've been productive, and I'll include some details. I will be productive again this week. Today may not be the day. Here is the list I posted on friday:

Projects for my week off:

  • Re-read The Enhanced League and make edits.
  • Figure out how to add images to the back of the book and actually make them look good.
  • Get the final MS out to the formatter, and pay her. Still waiting for an invoice.
  • Assemble a guest post I agreed to host. Became two and I did both of them.
  • Work on Lisa Burton Radio stuff as it comes in. Moderate success, needs more effort.
  • Finish up a post I've been working on to appear elsewhere. Delivered it too.
  • Start the word searches on Yak Guy.
  • Read Yak Guy and start editing.
  • Write blog tour posts for Enhanced League. Have five done, need more.

Depending on how well I do, I can get to some of these:

  • Research and assemble something I'd like to post for July 4th.
  • Publish The Enhanced League.
  • Put out a request for blog tour hosts.
  • Do some deeper research and start writing my time travel short story for an anthology. 1000 words and counting. Target is 5000.

Looks like I need to focus on Lisa Burton Radio, the blog tour posts, and my short story. Yak guy can take a back seat while I get Enhanced League out the door.


I may find some scraps of motivation today. I'll update this evening. Right now I have to find pants.

***

Post meeting:

My daughter was supposed to give me a haircut this afternoon, but has misplaced her shears and her combs. She really does give the best haircuts, but aside from chewing the hair off, I don't know what she can do. This would have been the perfect day for it too.

Now one of her friends is here, and they're watching movies in the living room. Some days you just have to run up the white flag and surrender.

I still have four more days to work on projects, and my wife decided to go to Nevada this weekend. That will make for a nice quiet house.

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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.

 

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Taskmaster

I don't have to return to the paycheck job until July 3rd. I've been trying to get this week off since April, but things have been too busy at work. It isn't perfect right now either, but I need my time off.

I got enough response to my request for guest authors to carry Lisa Burton Radio into October without missing a week. This means working on those posts will be part of what I have to do.

I need to work through two critiques this weekend, and have them ready for our meeting on Tuesday.

I could have gotten my first book out by now if I'd have gotten the time off, but I didn't and it's time to do something about it. Those of you who know me will recall that I like to make a list.

Projects for my week off:

  • Re-read The Enhanced League and make edits.
  • Figure out how to add images to the back of the book and actually make them look good.
  • Get the final MS out to the formatter, and pay her.
  • Assemble a guest post I agreed to host.
  • Work on Lisa Burton Radio stuff as it comes in.
  • Finish up a post I've been working on to appear elsewhere.
  • Start the word searches on Yak Guy.
  • Read Yak Guy and start editing.
  • Write blog tour posts for Enhanced League.

Depending on how well I do, I can get to some of these:

 

  • Research and assemble something I'd like to post for July 4th.
  • Publish The Enhanced League.
  • Put out a request for blog tour hosts.
  • Do some deeper research and start writing my time travel short story for an anthology.
Nine days, Thirteen items on my list. Some of those are pretty variable, like the Lisa interviews. Might get one to work on, or a dozen.

On top of that, I intend to hang out with Otto, drink some beer, watch a few baseball games, and I might even play a video game. It's a vacation after all.

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Release the pressure, be calm

It's fairly well documented that I put pressure on myself, then I stress when things don't go according to plan. Today I did something about it.

I asked for vacation time all next week, and it got approved. I feel like the clouds have parted, and the pressures all disappeared. Of course, I set the stage for a good week by finishing my beta edits over the weekend. After a couple of read throughs, I can send The Enhanced League to the formatter. I'm toying with the idea of including all the Lisa Burton posters at the end. Maybe someone will like them as cool freebies.

Once I get Enhanced League to the formatter, I need to start on edits for The Yak Guy Project. I also need to write tour posts for Enhanced League. Once I have everything, I'll put out a call for hosts, and try to figure out if they want me or Lisa to visit their sites.

If I can do all that, and get Yak Guy ready for beta readers, it will have been a good vacation. I don't feel like it's a huge, unreasonable goal. I don't have to go back until July third, and then I get the fourth off.

I have my critique group in there somewhere, so I'll have to work up their pages. I sent my own submission off this evening… while enjoying a glass of Talisker.

For those who are waiting, we took Otto back to the vet this afternoon. This whole pain thing has nothing to do with pecans. It's a neurological thing, involving his spine somewhere around his tail. He is in incredible pain, and we now have even more medication to try.

What really bothers me about this is that on Friday he was the happiest dog in the world. Today he can barely walk. We can't think of anything that happened to him, beyond the pecan debacle, and the vet says it has nothing to do with that. He didn't fall, nobody was physically abusive to him, the puppies certainly didn't hurt him. We're supposed to give him his medication and stand by. We were told to keep him calm for about ten days even after he starts feeling better. I guess in baseball terms, he's on the ten day DL list.

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The Best?

Otto is still hurting, and there isn't much I can do about it. His pain killers make a huge difference, and time is the other necessary ingredient. He's sleeping under my feet as I type this. Walking around hurts, but he feels better afterward. We're going to take all of them for a walk after supper.

I got up early again, and this time I tackled the last beta edit for The Enhanced League. When everyone got up, it looked as though I wouldn't finish. It involved some big changes. The riskiest of which was to cut one story from the manuscript and move it. This is because I can't read a calendar, and the book goes in calendar order. I must have checked it three times myself, and six out of seven beta readers missed it too. Thank God for the seventh one.

The way this year has gone, I want to whisper this, but “I finished!” This isn't the end, yet. I need to read it a couple more times, before sending it to my formatter, but this is a major hurdle.

We got away for a few hours today and saw Wonder Woman. We have several movies we wanted to see, and I let my wife choose. She chose well.

I've been reading or watching superheroes since the 1960s. I watched the Adam West Batman when it was originally broadcast. I saw Superman, with Christopher Reeve in the theater. (Actually watched the old Superman series in black and white, but they were reruns.)

I've been at about all the superhero movies since then; Avengers, Spiderman, Batman, X-Men, etc. Some of them are amazing surprises, like Ant Man, or the first Ghostrider. Some of them just don't get there for me. I've even watched the pseudo superheroes, like Zorro, Lone Ranger, and The League of Extrordinary Gentlemen.

Having qualified my viewing credentials, I think I'm ready to call it: Wonder Woman is the best superhero movie I've ever seen. Let the teeth gnashing begin.

I checked some reviews. The reviews are polarizing. The reviewer either feels as I do, or it's the worst movie ever. This smacks of an old bitch that's been around forever, Marvel fanboys. If it isn't Marvel, it must be destroyed at all costs.

Marvel owns the superhero world right now. They've done fantastic things, and will do more. I love them, but it doesn't mean other great characters aren't out there, or that someone else can't pull this off. DC is famous for trotting out terrible movies based upon their characters, but this time they got it right.

Gal Gadot is a perfect Wonder Woman. She is beautiful enough, and I applaud DC in going with someone who wasn't a mainstream actress. Maybe they learned their lesson with Halley Berry. I like the idea that she looks athletic, but still female. They could have gone for a body builder, but stuck more with the track star physique.

She did a fine job too. When she smiles it lights up the theater. When she's supposed to be pissed, she looks pissed. No botoxed to death face here.

Chris Pine was great too. He is the bigger name, and could have taken over. He played the supporting role well. He may not remain the bigger name, but remember casting this one happened before Dawn of Justice.

There were some things, there always are. I saw the twist coming a mile away. I also don't recall the big reveal about Diana's parentage, and I subscribed to the comic for years. I'll call it poetic license and let it be.

I like the idea that Diana's mission was basically a hit job. She actually killed the guy with a sword too. There's no sugar coated girly cheesecake here. The fact that this kind of story is a hit with fans makes me feel a lot better about my next book.

My next work is going to be called The Hat. It's all outlined, but still needs a few things. It's going to be a paranormal buddy story with shades of Deathwish and Deadpool. If Diana can ventilate the bad guy, I think I'm on solid ground.

Tonight I'm having the last of my morels over a nice ribeye. Maybe I'll crack open a nice porter too. Hope everyone had a great weekend.

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Working on my edits

I took a more leisurely approach getting to the writing cabin today. Puppies decided to wake up at 4:00 am, and they were hungry. After feeding and walking them, I went back to bed and all of them crawled in with me.

Bulldogs apparently don't have any concept of personal space. Otto was the best of the three, because he was happy to conk back out. After repeated attempts to keep tongues out of my nostrils, and noses out of my armpit, the puppies went back to sleep.

The writing cabin was a cold quiet place this morning. Lisa* is absent for a few weeks. She is hanging out with Sean Harrington and working on promotional posters for The Enhanced League, and The Yak Guy Project. I found detailed instructions for everything from making coffee to feeding her pet rabbit, Bunny.

I dragged my feet taking care of everything. Editing of any kind is not my favorite thing, and I knew what waited for me in my office.

He glared at me with inky black eyes. It was a look you might see at the end of your life, like when a great white shark bears down upon you. His black beak aimed my direction and followed me to my desk. I took a seat and opened the files I would need.

Doubt, the raven, hopped off his perch and glided to my desk. I paused, then opened the window in hopes he would leave for the day. He looked at me like he was disappointed at my childish antics.

I don't speak raven, but they make the damndest collection of noises. They aren't crows, and this one is from Mt. Olympus. He's more than an ordinary raven. He paced across the desk while waving his head from side to side in disapproval. “Jugaluggg, blork. Jugaluggg, blork.”

I knew what he meant. He thinks it's all crap. I massaged and tweaked my manuscript while he voiced his disapproval.

Enhanced League got a lot of volunteers for beta reading. I hoped for four, and got seven. I only hope Yak Guy will get half that many when the time comes. Everyone had something wonderful to offer. Commas were deleted, then added back, before being deleted once more.

My UK readers had a tough time with this one, and I expected that. Baseball is popular in North and South America, and in major parts of Asia. Not so much in the UK. I struggled with how to make it accessible to everyone, but had to make an executive decision. Professional ball players would not realistically discuss the basics of the game. They are veterans of the sport, and some things are understood so well they would never come up. This means, I've limited my audience for this book. It makes Doubt happy. He feeds off my worries and concerns.

One of them suggested that some baseball cards might help keep track of everything. It's an outstanding and creative idea. I just don't think I can commission the artwork to support a .99¢ book.

I managed to get through four of the reports before the real world called me back. I'll need another day to get through the rest, but that won't be the end. I will have to re-read it one more time before I can send it to the formatter.

All in all, I feel pretty good about it.

* Lisa Burton is my robotic personal assistant, and the spokesmodel for my writing career.

***

In reality, it looked a lot like this. IPad Pro with its split screen; one side for Enhanced League, the other side for email. This is because some readers sent notes in an email along with the attachment. My old iPad has all the beta read documents on it. I do it this way, because the pro won't allow me to use the split screen on the same program. I can't open my word processor twice. Truth be told, I really like this setup, and I'm glad I kept my old iPad for this reason.

I had my phone there too, but used it to snap this picture, so you can't see it. The other important device is a cup of chicory in a weak attempt to hang on to my vacation.

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The time has come

I finished my edits. I wanted to make a fun post about Doubt the raven, since he always helps me with editing. My regular work schedule just doesn’t allow me any time for this. I had to make a choice, and either forge ahead, or put everything on hold for three weeks. You guys probably know me well enough to predict what I chose.

So here we are with a 37,000 word manuscript all ready for beta readers. My goal is to get five or six of you to read it and give me feedback. It’s a short book, so it really shouldn’t take very long.

Regulars will know that I’m constantly experimenting. It’s how I develop and grow as an author, and this book also had a personal goal. I wanted a collection of short stories that told an overarching story this time. There is a semi-main character, but he’s not in every story.

The Enhanced League is an alternate baseball league where anything goes. You’ll read about performance enhancing drugs, alongside a group of misfits who couldn’t get attention in the Major Leagues. The rules are a bit different, but not so much as to be unrecognizable.

This is also the one where I experimented with what I’m calling Anthems. These are second person presentations about the game of baseball that are intended to enhance the experience for the reader. I intend to call them out in the table of contents, but they aren’t called out in the MS yet. (Can’t make the TOC until I finish the beta adjustments.)

So there it is. I hope there are enough human elements to keep the book interesting for those who aren’t sports fans, or specifically baseball fans.

If you’d like to be a beta reader, I’m looking for about five of you. I can send a Word, Pages, EPub, PDF, or RTF format. All you have to do is drop me an email and let me know you’re interested.

I’d like to have the reports back by May 23rd. This is a week less than I usually allow, but the book is half as long.

If you’re still game, here is my email address, just modify it into a real email address. Coldhand (dot) Boyack (at) gmail (dot) com.

*  Quick edit here. I have enough volunteers for this book now. If you still want to volunteer, I will have The Yak Guy Project at this point fairly soon. I’ll put out a call for beta readers just like I did for The Enhanced League.

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