Tag Archives: The Hat

Not much to report, but I’ll do my best

I planned to write this weekend, but Covid changed that for me. Old What’s Her Face was scheduled to work, but that didn’t happen. Oddly enough, it sounds like they want her back for her Thanksgiving shift. It appears you either get better in ten days or you die. We kind of hoped she would at least get the holiday off.

I had to make a trip to the office to drop off projects and pick up new ones. No idea how long my work will make me quarantine, but I tested negative and have zero symptoms. I’ll figure it all out in the coming week.

I even stopped on the way home to do the shopping. I knocked it out of the park. Years ago, I did the shopping, but that’s been a long time. You kind of instinctively know what you’re running low on, like laundry soap. Thank God for lists.

As far as writing, it was catch as catch can. I never really got specific times for my projects. I added a line here and there, and jumped between books to a degree.

I wrote another action scene for Serang, but stopped before the wrap up. She still needs to assess the battle and the location of specific things near her before moving her army.

Lizzie and the hat are also proving difficult. Lizzie hasn’t figured out there is a monster in their midst, and my old cop character is having no luck with his murder investigation. I wound up writing the next murder discovery, but forgot that Lizzie and the Pythons had to play a gig before the event.

I’ve never done this before, so I blame having too much on my mind. I’ll have to back up and add that event. The danger here is overkill. This was a two night gig, and this will be the second night. I need to spread some suspicions more than have the band rock out. Don’t quite know how I’m going to pull that off, but I need to minimize it since readers attended the Friday night show.

I’ve spent a lot of time counting calendar dates and comparing them to the lunar cycle. I don’t need a specific year when I do this. I hope the stories aren’t that limited in scope and have some longevity. I learned that the last possible day Thanksgiving can happen is November 28th. If the full moon occurs the weekend after (Because of gig schedules on weekends) this would be a blue moon.

This means my next full moon would be December 29th. Between the gig I need to back up and write and the December date, the cop should be chasing a possible killer and Lizzie should be chasing a monster. (No idea if that’s a weekend or not, but I almost hope not. Lizzie and the hat will need some freedom to hunt that night.

I picked this setting for a couple of reasons. First, all of the Hat stories seem to wrap up around Halloween and I want to break the mold a little. Second, blood on snow makes for a good visual. It stays red and doesn’t dry brown like blood on leaves. It also has to be washed away, leaving an ice slick, or loaded and carted off. With multiple victims, I can do both.

I may try to hack out a couple of paragraphs to repair my story this evening. Drives me nuts to have something in a state of disrepair like that.

The scorecard:

  • Wreck of the Lanternfish = 12,571 words
  • Just Plane Wered = 9098 words

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It wasn’t supposed to be like this

I planned on writing today, but forgot Old What’s Her Face had the day off. This usually means a day of television blaring, playing with bulldogs constantly, and no way of writing.

They’ve been working her hard, including at least one 16 hour shift. She’s tired. At one point she fell asleep, so I took a shot. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?

I made a title sheet and copyright data. I prefer having a title, even if it’s a working one. Since I jumped ship, this one will be the next adventure for Lizzie and the hat.

The working title is “Just Plain Wered.” Note the spelling on that last word. Make of it what you will.

I started off with a new character. He’s an old cop and has a dead wife. Since this is part of my paranormal series, I wound up spending some research time on vintage perfumes. (The things we do for our stories, right?)

I settled upon a perfume named Emeraude. My cop found a way of communicating with his dead wife by using his sense of smell. Emeraude was her standard scent.

I kind of like it. These stories need some recurring characters, and I have plans for him briefly in the subsequent story. I’m still trying to keep people from having to read each book, so I may need to work on his intro for the next one. I think it will work, though.

Lizzie and the hat appeared while playing one of their nightclubs. I added a bit of mystery already and wound up including some emoji’s in my dialog. (Remember, this is the corny series.) My formatter ought to love that. It’s the clapping hands emoji. The song they played is called “Clap for the Wolfman.”

I even made the piano player, Fat Larry, do the voice over part for Wolfman Jack. I gave him new dialog, so as not to risk any copyright issues. Titles aren’t protected and new dialog ought to be safe.

Lizzie paid the band out in the parking lot under a beautiful full moon.

  • Just Plain Wered
  • Clap for the Wolfman
  • A beautiful full moon

Anybody want to venture a guess what this one might be about?

All told, it was just under 2000 words. Not a bad writing day at all. It needs some work, but it exists, so it can be fixed.

It feels like a bonus in a way. I like doing stuff like this, because I’m still trying to figure out whether Serang is going to attack a fortress or not. Something about swords vs stone walls has me sidelined. It will happen later in the story, so I think I’ll skip it in the early section. No new Lanternfish words, but no wasted time either. Now I have something started for Lizzie and the hat.

Talk to me people. The Internet has been maddeningly quiet lately. Do any of you remember or have an opinion about Emeraude? (Apparently the new version isn’t the same concoction.) Have you ever put emojis in a story? Does anyone remember The Guess Who or Wolfman Jack?

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Sunday update

Old What’s Her Face just called from the freeway. She went to Nevada to visit her brother for the weekend. There is a huge construction delay just outside Boise, but she’s nearly home.

Normally, this would be great writing time for me, but I’ve sworn off of new words for a while longer. That doesn’t mean I haven’t been working.

I have a bit of a conundrum involving the publication of my next book. I want to announce it as part of a larger promo on October first. To do that, I need an actual purchase link. I’m off on Wednesday next week, but that’s September 30th. It sounds perfect, but Amazon doesn’t play that way. They can have up to a 72 hour lag time to put a book on their shelves.

This left me no choice but to publish it this afternoon. I need to guarantee the book’s availability on October first. It could be available when you read this, or it could take a day or two. Out of my control.

If nothing else, it allows me to concentrate on lining up some hosts to take this one out on tour. It’s called The Ballad of Mrs. Molony, and it’s a new caper for Lizzie and The Hat. Just in time for the Halloween season.

I also managed to write and schedule my next post on Story Empire. I thought I had a week, but I checked and it’s all set. Then I scheduled one post for this site on September 30th. Aside from that, I changed the wallpaper to something more Halloween related and updated my banner in anticipation of the new book release.

Beyond that, I finished binge watching a show called The Order. Very CW kind of thing, but fun with witches and werewolves. I also made some heavy progress on reading the anthology I appear in.

Not a bad weekend at all. I made some progress on the author front, got to watch what I want on television, and even functioned as a blogger.

I also ate a bunch of Asian pears and it’s about time to visit the tree again. Hope all of you are staying safe, and had some fun times yourself.

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The Friday Teaser

Here we are, at the last Friday in September. I don’t think I’ve actually fooled anyone with the teasers, but they amuse me. Nothing too complicated, just hit the music and check out the poster.

The Ballad of Mrs. Molony is going to drop on October first, Lord willing and the Amazon doesn’t rise. Enjoy this poster of Lisa Burton recreating an image from the story.

Lisa Burton

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Time for the weekly teaser.

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.

Lisa Burton is portraying a scene from the story.

 

 

Lisa Burton

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Time for our weekly teaser

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.

 

Lisa Burton

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Kicking it into Overdrive

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?

Lisa Burton

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Baby steps

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.

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Some parts are more difficult

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.

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Still on break

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.

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