October is fast approaching. It’s time for all the creepy-crawly things to visit our imaginations. While you’re preparing for whatever C-19 will allow, I’d like to suggest some reading. There are a ton of horror, paranormal, supernatural tales out there to help you during the month. I also have a new book coming out that you might consider. Here’s a little teaser for you.
I suppose nearly any of my books might loosely fit into the Halloween theme. I’m still hoping to publish one on October 1st. At the time of this writing, I got a peek at the formatted manuscript and identified a few glitches. It’s all progressing according to the schedule.
For this little teaser, turn up your speakers, and enjoy the all-star assembly. Check out the Lisa Burton poster to get some ideas about what Halloween means at Entertaining Stories. Have fun.
It’s September now. The best month of the year is just over the horizon. I can taste the pumpkin spice in my beer, and detect the crispness of the occasional morning. We’ll still dabble with the occasional 100 degree temperature, but October will be here before we know it.
It’s been my favorite since I was a small child. All the spooky Halloween oriented things. The changing colors, I love all of it.
Late summer was busy. It seems like Lanternfish sailed all over the world in the last month. We visited a lot of old friends and managed to get Lisa Burton out of the writing cabin. I’m hoping that my free promotion of the first book will walk some new readers into this series. It’s time to send the ship to dry dock now. She has holes to patch and barnacles to scrape before I take her back out for her last cruise.
I’m going to be popping up here and there this month to promote Murder They Wrote. This is an anthology of seven different short stories with a theme of murder. My character, Jason Fogg, is a private detective on the trail in my story.
I’ll be on the lookout for review posts. With Lanternfish’s free days, plus the new book, plus the anthology, one or two could pop up. If I find them, I’l try to share them here.
You might be thinking, Craig’s had a busy year. He’s probably going to relax for a while. That’s just not the case this year. I try to have a Halloween themed promo of some kind every year, and 2020 be damned, I’m doing it this year, too. I have another book I hope to release on October first. I only have part of my promotional artwork, but I have a cool cover. I’m sure the rest of the art will arrive in time. I don’t even have the formatted MS back, but it will be here.
I decided to post some teasers this month. Simple, visual and auditory at the same time. With this post, I’ve officially promoted three new books in one week. Take that 2020. Check it out. Are you teased? Are you intrigued?
Today was a pretty good flex day. I decided to do my word searches on Mrs. Molony. As part of The Hat series, they’re smaller books and it didn’t take long at all. Took longer to whine about it than to do it.
Based upon word searches, I never had to change a thing. My critique group has eagle eyes. I also took on a complete read through, and did reword a couple of sections. This is where the month away really helps. About the only thing I didn’t do was make a cover page and copyright data.
Imagine my excitement when the cover for Mrs. Molony showed up in my mailbox today. It turned out really good, but sharing it right now might be counter productive. My immediate push will be for book two of the Lanternfish trilogy.
Lanternfish is in the hands of my formatter. I figure it will be ready to publish in a week. Might even get to it this coming weekend. Then I’ll have to shift into promo mode and try to spread the word.
I also placed an order for artwork to accompany Mrs. Molony. We’re going to start off with the cartoon graphics that go inside the body of the text. These just add to the corniness of these tales. After that, I’ll get Sean started on a couple of Lisa Burton posters to promote with.
All in all, it was a productive day. It’s nice to move ahead on Mrs. Molony because I’ll be knee deep in Lanternfish promotion real soon. Hope all of you had a good Monday. Back to work for me tomorrow.
I’m still on my hiatus from drafting new material. The Muse sent me a bunch of future material and that’s been going great. I have two decent storyboards for stand alone tales. I also have three for stories about Lizzie and the hat.
The concluding story of Lanternfish still needs some work. Dealing with con men is harder that you might think. It requires a kind of mind game with the readers as well as the characters in the story.
I’m not sweating this yet and if I don’t start drafting something before December, I can live with that.
What is coming harder is any kind of comedy. I have faith in myself, but that will only get me so far. A lot of it comes to me as I write, but I usually have some antics in mind long before I start. Right now, I’ve got nothing.
This involves the relationship between Lizzie and the hat, but also the root monsters. As a buddy story, Lizzie and the hat will be easier to deal with. I have three reasonable plots and if I started writing today, they would be fine.
People love the root monsters from Lanternfish, and they need to shine as the trilogy comes to an end. I really hope I haven’t revealed all their tricks yet. I have a neat denouement in store for them, but that only helps at the end. They need purpose and humor as the tale unwinds.
One thing I’m toying with is to give them a tiny character arc. Instead of being told what to do, maybe they can start grasping what is happening and make some choices on their own. I’m not married to this idea, and as comedy relief, it kind of goes against all the rules.
What I really need are some root monster vignettes that sometimes come to me in dreams. Then I can sort through those and decide what could work in the story. I’m on the verge of reading HMS Lanternfish from start to finish as part of my editing process. That could spark some things, and you can bet I’ll have a notes app handy.
I’m 80% of the way through the book I’ve been reading, and that will signal time for editing. I might even do my traditional word searches in the evenings while Old What’s Her Face is watching television. I find that not focusing makes that go better. I miss common spelling errors when I get wrapped up in the story.
I sound like I have a plan, but I really don’t. I just know that I want Lanternfish out this summer, before it gets swallowed up with promotion for my Halloween oriented tale.
I hope everyone out there is being safe, and getting to enjoy some of the things you like.
In some ways, I don’t know what to do with myself, but I’m falling into the routine a little more each weekend. I have two of three critiques back for the ending of The Ballad of Mrs. Molony. Once the last one arrives I’ll address those.
After the critiques, it will be time to read HMS Lanternfish. I haven’t looked at it for a month, so there are bound to be things to repair. I can also do my word searches for corrections that I always seem to need.
After Lorelei the Muse visited, my head is full of ideas, but they aren’t immediately helpful. I’m really excited about The Hat books five and six. However, it’s book four I need to storyboard properly. I know that story, but it needs more structure than the others. It’s going to involve an event that will shape the future of these stories. It needs to have an emotional tug to it. That might sound funny for a series that’s dedicated to dark and snarky humor, but it works within the framework I’ve established.
I also added some fun ideas to a couple of storyboards for some stand alone novels I want to write. There is also an outer space related story bouncing around in my head, but it hasn’t earned a storyboard yet. Muses are great, but more pertinent help would have been better.
If nothing else, once I figure out the issues with my next two books, Lanternfish and Hat #4, I will be ready to scream along on future tales.
In other news, I worked on one of my cowboy hats a bit. Long term readers might remember when Old What’s Her Face and I went to Jackson Hole. There used to be a wonderful hat shop there, and I bought a nice beaver hat. I posted about cutting the brim down, steaming & shaping the brim and crown. Then I used a stitch puller to remove the hatband.
After that, I had my brother make me a copper hatband. This has worked well for years, and it’s my go-to outdoors hat. The band is held on by friction, but it will come off when doing some hat related chores, like fanning the campfire to get it going.
Today, I took some tin snips and some copper pipe and made a couple of staples. It took some effort to get them placed and puncture the hat body, but I don’t think my hatband will be coming off any time soon. Oddly enough, closing the stables was the hardest part. Not a lot of room to swing a hammer inside the crown of a hat.
I’m sure the staple will age and patina to catch up with the rest of the copper eventually.
I also broke down and ordered a new hat. I doubt the cowboy hat will be retired, but I wanted a campaign hat. This will be the third one I’ve owned over the years. The first one was cheap wool, and wore out back in my survey days. I allowed a bar tender to hang it on the wall in a tiny little place called Midas, Nevada. (Hope it’s still there.) The second one got borrowed by one of my son’s friends when they were in high school. They were a bunch of druggies, and once he gave it back I threw it away. Lice happen and I wasn’t about to take a chance.
This campaign hat is slouch style, and made of much better rabbit fur. It will come with the cavalry style acorn band, but I got the officer’s version with gold and black since it was an option. (I already have a hat with gold acorns.)
Years ago, in my part of the world, cowboy hats were everywhere. I’d kind of like to pick up a decent used one to experiment on. I can’t believe how difficult and expensive that process has become. I used to see such things at yard sales, but no more. I’ve learned how to sterilize and clean them up, and have a couple of experiments I’d like to try.
One of the things I enjoy is writing. It makes sense that I would do some of it for relaxation. I worked on a lot of projects, but none of them involve drafting new material.
Yesterday I bought a ladder. Exciting, right? I have a nice six-footer, but have to stand on the top to change the lightbulbs in the living room. (You know that label that says never do this? I’ve been that guy.) Ten years ago that was fine, and I’ve been doing it all this time. Pushing sixty, I’m just not willing to do that any longer. (Plus 2020 doesn’t feel like the year to gamble.) I bought a nice eight-footer, and it’s a simple matter to change the bulbs without risking life and limb.
I collected all my critiques for Mrs. Molony and made changes based upon that input. After that, I sent out the next chapter. There isn’t much left to send out, and after that I’m sure my critique group will appreciate the break.
The short story got to the point where I’m changing things, then changing them back. That’s usually a sign that it’s time to set it free. I emailed it in to the publisher.
I’ll be dealing with Mrs. Molony, either going out or coming back, as it happens. I won’t touch Lanternfish until I get Mrs. Molony to that point.
It’s been months since I looked at the first chapters of Lanternfish, so I could start reading it. I’d love to get it out in a couple of weeks, so I don’t have to kill myself to get Mrs. Molony out for Halloween. Doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. Halloween season is kind of a stick-pin, so the sooner the better for Lanternfish.
I also committed to hosting a friend. She sent me all the pieces, and I need to assemble it. That will probably be top priority tomorrow. I might even try some of it at the Toyota dealership. I have to take my truck for service early, but they have WiFi.
I also picked up a book I started months ago and read a chapter. Something is lost by doing it that way, but I admit to having a sneak peek at it before it was published. More reading is on my list during my break.
I don’t have to return to work until Monday, so other things on my list could happen. I need to start a storyboard for the final Lanternfish book. The next book about Lizzie and the hat could benefit from one, too.
Honestly, I still love my stand-alone titles, and I have I couple of nearly complete boards for two. I’m going to have to park on those because I’ve committed to series work for now. Halloween will be a stick-pin for one, and I want to conclude Lanternfish in 2021 as well.
I think I can accomplish more before I have to return to the office. Eventually, I’ll be down to storyboards and reading. That’s going to be nice, and will clear some room to get Lanternfish out the door.
It wasn’t part of my long term plans, but I’m going to take a kind of break. This doesn’t mean I’m not writing, It just means I won’t be drafting new stories right now.
This morning I finished the draft for The Ballad of Mrs. Molony. I’m debating a couple more paragraphs, but don’t know if they’re necessary.
This story involves Lizzie and the hat in pursuit of a pair of rodeo cowboys. These guys are now members of the undead. This allows the band, Lizzie and the Pythons, to explore country music as part of catching the bad guys. Made for some cool outfits and hat styles, too.
Lizzie has a small melt-down over the music. At the end she returns to more familiar ground. I could add a couple of paragraphs to show how they weave in some country songs without compromising what they like. Or I could leave it out.
I’m calling it finished, regardless of what I decide. I need to work up some blog ideas for the books, work with my cover artist, decide if I’m spending any promo money, but I doubt it. Think about formatting. Oh yeah, I’m going to need some of those silly graphics to put in Mrs. Molony so as to keep with the theme.
I’m going to be storyboarding, too. The final Lanternfish is going to require a storyboard. I have two novels full of information that I have to stay faithful to. There are a bunch of loose ideas for the finale. A board helps me mold all that into a decent story.
I think next year’s Hat story could benefit from a storyboard, too. I want this one to be more grim with an undertone of sadness, while still keeping the humor going. Not an easy task. It’s my intention to break Lizzie mentally toward the end of the next one. That will lead into another one that has a lot going on including a revisit with the witching community.
Aside from that, I have some stand alone novels that are already in the early phases of storyboards. I should probably hold off on these until Lanternfish is complete.
There’s also reading. I haven’t taken a serious reading break for a long time and there is a lot I want to catch up on. I also have a bit of a blog makeover in mind.
Honestly, if I can get Lanternfish out this summer, then Mrs. Molony for the Halloween season, I will have met my yearly goals. If I don’t write another word this year, I’m in pretty good shape.
Just because I’m not working on a draft does not mean I’m not working. We’re going camping this weekend. I’ll probably do some reading while I’m up there.
It feels good to accomplish something on occasion. Old What’s Her Face just called as she got off work and put an end to my writing day.
This time, I didn’t have any work commitments, or other projects to address. It was a day for me to do whatever I want, and I chose writing.
I got up late, which felt awesome. Usually, Otto wants his breakfast by about 5:00, but he was feeling lazy, too. I fumbled a bit with what project to tackle. Sundays don’t give me a lot of time, but I can address the critiques I have for Lanternfish. That gives it some momentum this weekend. It isn’t much, but it counts.
Jason Fogg is to a place where I want to think about it for a while, and that left Lizzie and The Hat.
The book is called The Ballad of Mrs. Molony, but she hasn’t made an appearance for a while. This is because she’s going to get the big ending scene. Lizzie and the Pythons finished their gig at a country bar, and spotted the vampires they’re after. Things went downhill from there.
They took up a vigil trying to spot one passing pickup in an area that seemed like a good target. Stakeout work is boring, so I’m counting on characters to keep it interesting. It’s their style to bicker and pick about things, and there is plenty of that in this chapter.
Lizzie pissed off the clientele at the country bar, (Who knew cowboys wouldn’t appreciate Van Halen,) and I let the hat go on a supervised Internet shopping spree. He’s kind of an Internet junkie these days.
All told, it came to over 3300 words, my best day in a long time. I could have easily kept going, but my wife is on her way home. I’m going to reread an old short story of mine, because I can see a place for that character in the world of Lizzie and The Hat.
The story is called Night Bump Radio. It involves a character from Will O’ the Wisp, who grew up to host a late night call in show. It’s based loosely on the old Art Bell programs where people call in about bigfoot, aliens, ghosts, and all kinds of things that go bump in the night.
The loose idea is this becomes a point of worry when people start calling in about a mysterious character known on the streets as The Hat. Hey, you can’t shoot things up without a witness or two picking up on it. I can sort of introduce it here. Step it up a bit in the next book, then the one after that, I can have some real fun with it. It also gives me a tie to Patty Hall, from Wisp, if I want to include her down the road.
Not a lot planned for tomorrow. I’ll probably look at my critiques and make a few adjustments, then that will close out my weekend. Hope all of you are safe, well, and doing something fun this weekend.
Things have been slow around here, but I don’t want you guys to forget about me. I wasn’t designed to work from home, but I’m doing it anyway.
There have been a lot of connectivity issues and delays, but I’m getting things done somehow. I was supposed to be in Savanna this week, but that got canceled. The conference went virtual, so I’ve been attending Zoom meetings like everyone else. It works, but doesn’t encourage a lot of interaction. Today is my flex day, but there was one meeting I wanted to sit in on late morning. This seems to be how it’s done right now.
I always get up early, so I had some writing time before I had to log in. I’ve been on a roll with Lanternfish, but I have samples out for critique. That made it easy enough to eliminate for today.
Nothing I do has a deadline, but I usually have a plan I want to stick with. I hope to get Lanternfish out this summer. You know I hate summer releases, but as book two of a trilogy, I don’t expect much from it until book three is released.
Then we have Lizzie and The Hat. Their current story is called The Ballad of Mrs. Molony. Again, no deadline, but I’d like to have it out for the Halloween season. These are short novels on purpose, and I already have 21K words. No pressure there.
That leaves the anthology story, featuring Jason Fogg. I managed a good 1500 words of it before I had to check in at the office. It’s a bit light for a flex day, but I feel good about it.
I’m writing this one without a storyboard, but at least I have a broad concept and some familiarity with the character. I even dreamed up a new way to take him out. I haven’t written it yet, but it seems there are a few ways to take Jason out. I froze him in his cloud form in an earlier story.
I was told to make this story 10K to 15K words and I’m off to a good start. I think they want it by mid-summer sometime, and if I chip away at it, I should make it.
After my Zoom meeting, I decided to thin Asian pears. This is easiest when they’re BB sized. I use a pair of scissors and go to town. I managed about 2/3 of the tree until my back said no more. I’ll probably prune it a bit, too. I don’t have to thin the branches I’m removing.
I don’t have a new picture, and hated to retire the cool frozen pond background, but it’s time. Winter is over. I’m recycling some bulldog brindle as a background for now. It makes a cool enough graphic.
As I type this, I’m in the process of acquiring some Hattori Hanzo steel in preparation of killing Bill. But first it’s time to get even with Lucy Liu. I think I’ll just bum out for the rest of the day