Tag Archives: The Hat

Started another one

I got Mari to a crossroads in the wilderness and it poses a small geography problem. She needs to take all three options before her. I wrote one of them that allowed me to show a bit of setting and close the book on her former life. She made it back to the crossroads, and I want to think the next part over in more depth.

This meant it’s time to start on the next hat story. For some reason this one flowed better. It’s probably because I know the characters so well.

Here’s the shtick for this one. It opens with Lizzie working her dead end jobs in the wake of a disaster that happens in The Midnight Rambler. I’m still cognizant of keeping each volume as a stand alone title in the series.

A huge flood event is part of Midnight Rambler. I’m making sure to drop enough details so those who skip MR will be able to pick it right up in the next book. Those who read in order will see the continuity across the titles.

Since Lizzie lives in a basement apartment, it’s out of commission for repairs, so she’s temporarily living with Shade, her saxophone player. It’s a return favor from Lunar Boogie.

The FBI is asking for Lizzie’s help on a matter of national security. They’re forcing her into it by exposing a file on her previous goings on, then leveraging her unpaid student loans as a kind of payoff. It’s a crappy payoff, but it’s in keeping with the events of her regular life.

I may have mentioned it here, but never between the covers of the books. I never mention where Lizzie lives, because I want to make some of it up as I go. If I need a special park or event center, I don’t want to limit myself as to what actually exists. Having said that, here in author land, it’s basically St. Louis.

I found out the National Geospacial-Intelligence Agency has an important site in St. Louis. I won’t reveal the city in my story, but it fits my plan perfectly.

The NGIA is all about satellite photos, spy planes, and other geographical data. I added they can track ships at sea and a few other tidbits. They’re part of the US Intelligence network.

Turns out the NGIA has been invaded by gremlins. All Lizzie has to do is get rid of them in a big server farm.

Lizzie is living on disaster food stamps, disaster rental assistance, FEMA monies, and whatever else she can scrape together. I had some fun with her trying to sell timeshares and working for Uber Eats. Also had fun with the hat trying to sell timeshares.

I have a nice line about insurance coming up when she finally gets to the campus.

Let’s just say, I’m having a great time. Ran into a snag in writing Mari’s story in first person, then nearly starting Lizzie’s story in first person, too. Got over that after a couple of paragraphs.

I like writing two at once so I can keep making word count. I broke 3000 words on Lizzie’s next tale while dwelling on Mari’s next moves. Tomorrow is a good writing day, and I may bounce back and forth.

Not too bad for having accomplished nothing yesterday. Don’t feel at all bad about it either. It’s nice being ahead of the game.

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Chipping away at it

Somehow, I managed today as my flex day. It hasn’t happened very often that I get a four day weekend out of the schedule, but I’m pretty stoked about it.

Tried my hand at some fiction this morning. It’s going slow. I’ve been dwelling on this story for years, but I still have to get post apocalyptic America on the page along with everything else. This involves things like transportation which is back to horse power, or in Mari’s case ox power.

It also involves a monetary system where barter is king, and salvage is a way of life. The currency exists in the form of quarters. These are more durable than old paper money, and people can sift through the rubble for them on occasion. Sometimes purchases are made by the coin count, other times by the pound. It’s +/- $20 per pound of coins. I looked it up.

I also have to work with geography and a few ideas from the fall of our modern society. For now, I’m sticking with “Once Upon a Time in the Swamp,” for a title. Something else may come to me as I write it out, but it functions for drafting purposes.

I’d like to start another Lizzie and the hat tale soon. Working on two projects at once really functions well for me. When I get in a bind on one, I can switch to the other and still earn word count out of the day.

I keep finding some pretty obscure music as part of my hat research. After so many volumes, I’ve covered a lot of tunes people are likely to recognize. I hate to use obscure stuff, but might have to start weaving some of that in.

This is something new from Samantha Fish. I think it’s a cover of an older song, but I can totally envision Lizzie and the Pythons playing it.

I’m thinking the working title for this story will be “Goodbye Old Paint.” That will probably be a line of dialog in the story. It will involve national security, and her being forced into helping. My motivator could go down in flames, though. It involves Lizzie’s unpaid student loans. If the president forgives those it might force me to change directions.

With any luck, I might start writing this one before the long weekend ends. Right now, Mari and the swamp need more of my attention.

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Content with progress

Today is my flex day, and it’s nice when they tie into the weekends. I’ll start on my long change when I return to the office tomorrow. Since I work ten-hour shifts, four in a row gets kind of brutal. It’s my back mostly. Not a lot of nice recliners at the office.

During my vacation I had three goals, but only accomplished one and a half. This weekend I finished up that other half, then did a complete read-through of Midnight Rambler. I had a few things to fix, but it’s a fun story.

The hat has to face one of his enemies, and Lizzie finds a boyfriend of sorts. It all goes down during a major storm event that becomes almost a character in its own right.

Those who read all the stories will get hints of something that plays into my next project, but I’m still not abandoning the idea that each story stands alone.

My next move will be to send an email for a cover, internal graphics, and a couple of Lisa Burton posters. I just need to figure out what those might involve.

There were errands and such, too. We went from freezing to 86º in three days. I uncovered the air conditioner and got it running. I still haven’t set up the sprinkler system, but it’s been raining.

I also had to take my truck in for service. That cost me Saturday afternoon, since nothing is just around the corner here.

Old What’s Her Face signed up for a service called Peacock. It’s the NBC version of a streaming thing. I discovered one of my all-time favorite series on there and have been binge watching it. Crime Story is set in 1963. There’s a lot of neon, chrome, old cars, and a wonderful playlist involved. There’s also lots of murders and hits, the rise of a Mafioso, and the cop who’s trying to stop him. Who knows, maybe the Muse will bring me some fresh inspiration from all this.

Hope all of you enjoyed your weekends.

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The Good Liniment tour continues

I’m visiting with DL Finn today, and the topic is the expanding world of Lizzie and the hat. There comes a time when it’s needed for the series to continue, and Good Liniment makes that step. Denise is a Story Empire partner, a fabulous author. Stop over and check out her site along with the post.

I’m thrilled to have fellow Story Empire author, C. S. Boyack, here today to celebrate his latest release, Good Liniment. I have read all The Hat stories and was eagerly looking forward to this one. I wasn’t disappointed. Here is my review: Link

Keep reading by following this link

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It’s a new book #bookrelease

My path for the last couple of years has been weird. I get sporadic writing time, and try to make the best of it. Eventually, those sessions add up, which is why I’m posting today.

My work schedule put me in a strange place, because I could publish last weekend, then not talk about it all week, or publish this weekend and have the same problem ahead of me. I went ahead and ran it through Amazon’s mill last Sunday.

Good Liniment is now available on Amazon and has been for a couple of days now. I’ll be taking it out on tour for a few weeks to give it a good launch, and will be reblogging the posts here as a way to support my hosts and hopefully drive a bit of traffic. Lisa Burton, spokesmodel for my career, will be out there too handing out some book specific posters.

Getting sick didn’t help matters along. I missed a bunch of work this week with something like the flu on steroids. (I got the flu shot, so it’s probably something else.) At one point I was feverish and slept for 20 straight hours. The other four were spent in the bathroom.

That doesn’t leave a lot to talk about in a blog post, so let’s make this about the new book.

Someone is murdering members of the local witches coven. They turn to Lizzie and the hat for their unique skills that might help eliminate the killers.

A religious zealot might be a monster, but is still a human being. This task isn’t the same as staking vampires or shooting zombies. It isn’t the usual project Lizzie takes on for her night work.

This all takes place during a recovery period for Lizzie. She needs to keep her cover band together and find a new way of getting them gigs. More bands and less venues are making finances tight. The hat didn’t make things easier during her absence, by spreading rumors about why she took her sabbatical.

Someone killing others over a point of view insults Lizzie’s sensibilities. She has secrets to keep. Her employers have secrets, too. It doesn’t make for a comfortable working environment, but she agrees to do what she can.

Convincing her strong-willed employers to stay indoors during all this poses another problem. Can she keep them alive long enough to finish her task?

Good Liniment is full of magic, magical creatures, and an entire underground community living amongst us.

The Hat Series consists of short novels that can be read in a single afternoon. They’re full of snarky dark humor and can be easily read out of order.

Purchase Link: http://mybook.to/Good_Liniment

Series Link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08KTQY1XJ?ref_=dbs_p_mng_rwt_ser_shvlr&storeType=ebooks

I hope to give this one a good launch. It expands the world of Lizzie and the hat exponentially, and provides a base the next few stories will feed off of. I plan on making minor introductions in subsequent stories so you can still read them out of order should one grab your attention more than another.

I also have a finished manuscript for The Midnight Rambler that glances off some things in Good Liniment. Probably hold that one for the Halloween season.

I’m scheduling this post ahead of time and hope to be back at work by the time you read it. I might have to catch up with comments after hours.

So, there you have it. A new book in The Hat Series. Do all the things authors dream of. Pick up a copy, have fun, tell your friends, maybe share it on social media. Watch for the tour posts. I made every one of them unique and I think it will be a good tour.

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Odd Word Metrics

I spent my morning trying to write promotional materials for the eventual release of Good Liniment.

It’s not the same as new fiction, but I got five posts roughed out. It probably doesn’t reach 2500 new words, but it’s fairly close. To finish them, I would need a blurb and some links. Those details will come later.

I ordered three new Lisa Burton posters for this release, and they came out wonderful. Sean Harrington really outdid himself on them, and they reflect items from the story. That made posts where she visits someone fairly easy to write.

I should have about that many more before I’m ready, then I need to figure out where I want to take this tour. I’ve done so many of these over the years they can be kind of tiring. I’m excited about the story, but not about promo. Probably a flaw in my personality.

Don’t get me wrong, I like the comments and responding, it just doesn’t work as well during the work week. I’m even considering some vacation time so I can be present in the moment, but work is too crazy right now.

I might even get a couple more written tonight, but I’m not committed to the idea.

This is the spot where I would usually insert a musical teaser for one of The Hat books. I try to hold back the posters for my hosts, but can’t resist sharing one today. They came out so good this time.

Lisa is taking Noodles for a walk in this picture. If you’d like to learn more about Noodles, you’ll have to come along when the tour starts, or even read the book. It’s coming soon, I promise.

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Something stupid, but I fixed it

I’ve been a little disappointed in the performance of Wreck of the Lanternfish. There were a lot of people who loved the first book and encouraged me to turn it into a series. Book two did fine, and Serang picked up a lot of fans of her solo story. Why didn’t the final volume draw those same readers?

I mentioned both here and at Story Empire that most of my action has been via pages-read on Kindle Unlimited. Sales are kind of rare these days, but readers love being able to read for free.

I don’t check Amazon stats all that often, but I cruised through the other day. A friend said he was enjoying The Hat, and I thought I might find a review eventually. That’s when I noticed my error. Wreck of the Lanternfish was not available via Kindle Unlimited.

I don’t have any idea why not, I always try to set my books up there. Admittedly, some of the older ones aren’t, but Lanternfish absolutely should be. It is now. If you’ve passed this one up because of this, never fear.

Look at the sidebar.

Click on that cover and enjoy a bit of piracy. I have no idea how this happened, maybe the root monsters were “helping” me that day.

In other news, I got a manuscript back from my formatter. If I can glean it this weekend, I could publish at any time. I’ll take some time to write promotional posts, and I have to consider three new Lisa Burton posters that should be shared somewhere.

Here’s a little hint as to what might be coming…

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Sometimes you get rained out

I don’t know why I started this with an old baseball reference, but there you have it. I didn’t accomplish a whole lot this weekend.

I finished the MS for The Midnight Rambler, but it needs something I just can’t put my finger on. I came to that conclusion because it’s shorter than other stories about Lizzie and the hat. Another 4000 words would give it a similar length. I made an editing pass and deleted even more words.

This one has a lot of loose ends to wrap up. I did this with short sections, using either section breaks or artwork panels. (This is the series with silly graphics included.) The end feels like chunk, chunk, chunk. I need a better idea of how to wrap this one, and it might even add a few words if I’m lucky. Time might bring me a few better answers.

I read a couple of short novels and posted reviews across all three platforms. I enjoyed this part of my weekend.

Old What’s Her Face and I made a trip to Home Depot, then used a Christmas gift card to go to dinner. Date night was fun, but I ate way too much. Restaurants seem to either deliver postage stamp sized entrees, or pile the plate to overflowing.

No idea what to do over the holiday tomorrow. I want to work on Midnight Rambler, but know it should rest for a bit. I could jump back to my unnamed space opera. If I do this, it will probably involve reading what I already have to make sure I set the next stage.

It was a fairly unproductive weekend, and I don’t really care. Wish I had more news to deliver to everyone. The last couple of years have been kind of brutal, and if my personal life slows down a little, that’s okay.

I hope all of you had great weekends, whether you were relaxing or trying to be productive. I’m going to take 2022 as it comes.

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Switching stories again

Percy, the Space Chimp, leaped off the couch at the writing cabin as I entered. He regaled me with a recap of his visit to the warehouse and Ray Dongas who rules the place. He paused at the entrance to the paranormal office.

Lisa Burton, my robot PA waited inside. She wore a rain slicker and a sou’wester hat, but insisted on heels to go with them. Not so much the strawberry-blonde bombshell today as just cute.

“Wait a minute. What’s happening here?” Percy asked.

The hat atop Lisa’s head spoke. “Not your turn today, slick.”

I put a hand on Percy’s shoulder. “That’s how it works around here. Sometimes I need to give a story some time. You guys are gallivanting around the secret space city, but I need to figure out how much exploration is entertaining, and when to send you on the next leg of your adventure. Science fiction needs a bit of world building, but there’s a limit to it. This city will come back around in your tale, so I could get away with a bit more.”

“Come on, dude. I got a new shuttle I need to try out.”

“And, you will. Today isn’t the day. I need to ponder your next moves. Today is all about The Midnight Rambler.”

The hat said, “Take a break, kid. I’ve been through this a lot of times. You get used to it eventually. The Olympics are on somewhere. Maybe you can check those out.”

Lisa found a place on the couch, then crossed her legs. “What’s with all the rain in this story?”

“Couple of reasons. It’s big enough to be an obstacle to Lizzie’s success, and I have a secret plot to ruin her car.”

“She loves that car. Why would you do that to her?”

“Maybe she’s in line for a different car someday. Besides, it’s true to life. Lizzie struggles with her meaningless jobs, bills that never end, and trying to perform with her band. A paranormal tale needs some level of reality so people can relate. Then there’s the fact that some cool rain type songs have been made. Those can make it into her playlist.”

The hat spoke up. “She’s my partner, so I’m telling her. What are you going to do about her boyfriend?”

“I’m not telling you anything after that last comment. I’m still trying to make this a series of stand-alone noveloids. Anything that drifts across the titles has to be something the next book doesn’t have to explain.”

“Come on, you can tell me. I’m the hat.”

“No. I don’t think so. Success has been sparse on this caper. She can’t count on Kevin the vampire, and the Rambler is dug in to make her crazy. We’re going to initiate a few clues today that will nudge the end game forward.”

“It’s about time. She’s already crazy enough. This monster has to have an army at his disposal by now, and we’re going to have to slug our way through them to get to him. Maybe we can figure out a way to draw him out.”

“Maybe, but I don’t see it working that way. In fact, you’re going to have a little talk with her about how that last second victory only happens in the movies. Sometimes things don’t work out in the real world.”

“Well, I don’t like the sound of it. Is this going to be the Greek tragedy you’re always talking about?”

“That would be cool. Maybe I’ll give that some thought.”

The hat groaned.

Lisa took him off and placed him on the end table. “Relax. He’s already told you about his plan for a new car. If everyone dies, there’s no need for that.”

“Maybe, just the boyfriend dies. That could work.” The hat wobbled to look at my reaction.

“What do you think of this song?”

“You didn’t answer my question.”

“That reminds me. I need to see what kind of help disaster areas really offer. Lizzie can’t work anywhere except where her band plays. The diner’s flooded and landscaping is at a standstill. Even her basement apartment has water inside.”

“Does this mean the Research Sirens are coming back here?” Lisa asked.

“Could happen.”

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My weekend plans

My only plan this weekend was to bleed and lick my wounds. It was a brutal week both personally and professionally. An errand interrupted me and I had to repair a headlight. (Again.) I never planned on a single word of new fiction, and that is still the plan.

However, Sean Harrington delivered a bundle of graphics for Good Liniment. Fans of The Hat Series know I pepper these with silly little graphics to make the stories even more corny. Here’s one, just for fun:

That led to peppering the MS with graphics, which involves a lot of gyrations. I’m pretty sure my formatter hates these, but they’re part of the series now. I used some of my down time to start reading the story and making more edits. I didn’t get far, but never intended to.

Authors are weird people, and I own that. My mind never turns off, even when I’m licking my wounds. Here’s an example of what happens:

Lisa Burton parked our spaceship in deep space, then followed Percy the Space Chimp and I into the lounge. We grabbed glasses of Angel’s Envy, on the rocks, and stared at the galaxy before us. Distant stars and nebulae stretched to infinity.

Our last writing session had been a big one, so we took in the view until I broke the silence. “What do you suppose the soundtrack of space is?”

Lisa said, “I like those big orchestral pieces that can match the grandeur.”

Percy rattled the ice in his glass. “It can also be something like David Bowie music.”

I sniffed the vanilin and took a sip of my drink. “It really could be whatever the writer thinks. I’m going to go with a little of Percy’s backstory. Obviously, I can’t write a soundtrack into my story, but this is what it sounds like to me.” I keyed the speaker system and brought this up.

“Are you sure?” Lisa asked.

”Just look out the window and listen. It makes perfect sense to me.”

”I get it, dude. What are you going to do with that thought?” Percy asked.

”Not sure, but it helps me interpret space. Angel’s Envy doesn’t hurt either. Hit me again, Lisa.”

***

I hope all of you are having wonderful weekends. I need to get back to Earth and catch up on your blogs. I might even do some long overdue reading if the mood strikes me. What is your soundtrack to space?

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