Tag Archives: The Viral Blues

A different kind of effort

I got to the writing cabin late today. The dogs let me sleep in, and I didn’t feel the pressure to get anything in particular accomplished. Don’t get me wrong, I had a list.

I worked my way into the paranormal office and decided upon the chair and ottoman instead of Patty Hall’s old desk. My back is still bugging me this week.

Lisa showed up with coffee.

Lisa Burton

“Thanks, you’re a lifesaver.”

“What are we working on today?”

“I’m going to read through The Viral Blues. I need to make a list of those silly little graphics to see what I have to order.”

“I wore my hat so I could help you.”

“I see that, but I don’t think that one appears in this story.”

“Do you want me to change? I have a closet full of them.”

“It’s fine. Honestly, I’m just reading mostly.”

Doubt, the raven, soared in on silent wings landing on my chair back.

“Do your damndest. I don’t think you can distract me today.”

Brrrrrr. Kaw. Kaw, Kaw.

Lisa walked to the haunted window and opened it. Today’s image was of a bunch of hillbilly vampires at an old shack. “What do you suppose he means?”

“No idea. I don’t speak raven. He’s not going to get to me today.”

“If you’re just reading, I have an episode of Lisa Burton Radio I can work on.”

“Whatever you need, just keep the coffee hot.”

Lisa went to take care of her business.

I finished my read through. There were several sentences without periods and odd caps in the middle of sentences. I fixed them, but they are obvious cut and paste errors. I might have to do one more pass on this one.

I also completed my list of graphics. I’ll get those to Sean Harrington after the cover shows up. I’m still worried about having all the promotional stuff by September.

My next step will be to send this one off to the formatter, but I need the graphics first. That’s something to keep in mind as this unfolds. I like to get everything ready ahead of time.

I spent the rest of my day reading a short story. My reading always seems to fall behind, but this summer I might get a bit accomplished.

Hope all of you are having a wonderful weekend.

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Not bad progress

I get up fairly early most mornings. I either have to pee, Otto want’s his breakfast, or something. Today it was my back. It’s gets aching, so I just get up.

I managed the read-through of Serang, and I wouldn’t be afraid to show it to the general public at this time. I’ll probably read it again a few times before I publish, but it’s in fair shape right now.

I also did the word searches for The Viral Blues. It seems like there are always a few its/it’s errors that jump out. Because this one involves Lizzie and the hat, I want to include a few of the little graphics like the first book. I’ll have to scan through it and see what I can recycle vs what I have to order.

I sent out a submission to my critique group on friday night, and already have one response back. That’s pretty fast by my book. I’ll park it until I have all of them back, but might get to work on it next week. Possibly on July 4th.

Beyond that, we managed date night at Old Chicago. Had some pizza and nice craft beer. We stopped by the old Boise Co-op, but they don’t have the items I usually get there anymore. It was a special kind of tea and some lip balm I like. Lip balm isn’t that important, and pretty much anything will work. If I really want it, I can probably get the tea from Amazon.

It doesn’t sound like a lot, but crossing off Serang is a big deal.

The Viral Blues is shorter than I wanted, but I’ve decided not to make it another 99ยข title. There is a real story there, and I have enough entry points to my work. This may wind up hurting me, but like the old song says, “Nothin’ from nothin’ leaves nothin’.”

While daydreaming about the next “Hat” story, I found a new band. They call themselves Relax Trio. They sound nothing like their name indicates and play an ancient type of rockabilly music. I was drawn to it by the woman who plays the upright bass.

Then I started yet another pin board. I got glimpses of a story from a dream, but not enough to rough something out. This one would have to be post-apocalyptic in nature. If you’re of a mind this is the board: https://pin.it/kx4wtazjkevehv

Maybe this one is tied into the person I dreamed up that was scrounging among some old crashed space ships. If there is anything of merit there it will come to me eventually.

I don’t consider searching for music or scanning Pinterest to be goofing off. My boards are becoming a nice resource for fiction. Lizzie and the hat play this kind of music, so that helps too.

In my mind, it was a productive day. Tomorrow I’ll call my parents and check in with them. I may just bag all the projects and spend the rest of the time reading.

Hope you guys are having a good weekend too.

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A small update

I put the finishing touches to The Viral Blues this morning before dogs and family started stirring.

From my perspective, it was good enough to share with critique partners, but I have a lot to fix. They were all fast today, and I had responses before we even finished our goofing around for the day.

We decided to drive back to Donnelly, absent the trailer. My USFS maps indicate a lot of campgrounds on the back side of Cascade Reservoir. In all these years, I’ve never taken the drive around the lake, and today was the day.

The best campgrounds were near Donnelly, and after the pavement ended there wasn’t a lot to offer on that front. Beautiful, no doubt, but not quite what we were looking for in a campground. (There is a custom hat maker in Donnelly, but I resisted. This is like catnip to me, but when you’re broke all the time you have to behave.)

I was a bit disappointed in the road maintenance. The Forest Circus usually keeps the roads bladed pretty well, and while this road is big, it’s a pothole and washboard disaster.

We stopped one place to let the dogs potty. Otto was impressed that squirrels here live in the ground. He sniffed and dug at several holes. Frankie just freaks out, because she loves her own yard.

I snapped a few photos, but they all came out about the same. Here is one if you’d like to get a look at the scenery.

A more responsible photographer would have stepped off the road

There are ospreys everywhere you look, but not an eagle in sight. We also saw tons of pretty songbirds, and a few white pelicans on the water.

We’re getting ready for supper right now. I worked through one of the critiques, but am saving the others for later. I’m off Monday too, and that might be a good time for those.

If I get far enough, I might start the word searches on Serang.

Here is a still life from inside the camper.

I’ll probably fiddle around with Pinterest or something after supper. We thought about bringing a DVD of Captain Marvel, but blew it off.

We’ll go home at a leisurely pace tomorrow. That will give us time to wash the camper off, put our stuff away, and still have a day to accomplish things on monday.

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Back to normal???

Otto woke me up before six a.m. this morning. I took my time feeding them, fiddled around with social media, then headed for the writing cabin.

I was very close to the big boss battle and wanted to get into that.

This one is called The Viral Blues and was intended to be the second story for Lizzie and the hat. It kind of spun out of control and became a lot more than that.

I had all these characters wasting away, trying to draw unemployment, so I decided to put them back to work. This means there are a team of main characters.

My first obstacle involved section breaks for point of view changes. I’m not a fan of this, but imagine two cars full of heroes chasing one car full of bad guy. They’re all doing heroic things, and I need to change POV from car to car. I worked on this for a long time, but had to add a couple of section breaks to pull it off.

One of the things to keep in mind here is that everyone was someone’s favorite. If they come into this book, they deserve a starring moment for their favorite character. Honestly, this was a fun challenge and I think I met it.

Things are rough around the edges, but I finished the story today. I need to do some serious work on it before I send it to critique members, and it may be a couple of weeks before I can do that.

An interesting new challenge presented itself today. I’m on record (probably over at Story Empire) saying I like brief endings. I’ve used terms like “drop the mike and walk offstage,” and “happy for now,” to describe my opinions. This book wouldn’t let me do that.

With that many lead characters, the denouement took longer than I planned. Everyone needed to get something out of the deal now that their adventure is over. Some could be dealt with quickly, but some needed more attention. Then Lizzie and the hat had a bit of drama over their payment, but I like how it worked out.

Then it occurred to me that I was at one of those pivotal points. I have a marketing idea that is either pure genius, or about as idiotic as anything I’ve ever tried. I’m adding my back of the book material, but instead of blurbs I’m noting which stories the various characters appeared in.

My hope is that if someone just met Clovis, for example, they might want to check out The Playground.

Then… I decided to do something I never do. There is going to be an epilogue. There is one loose end that I really don’t have to tie up, but decided to do it anyway. I have a solid idea for it, and I promise it will be fun. I’m selling it to myself like it’s one of those ending scenes after one of the Marvel movies.

I just started writing the epilogue, when I got interrupted.

Lisa Burton

“Hey! I’m home.”

“Back here. How was your adventure?”

“Honestly, it was rugged. Why do you insist upon breaking me in all my stories?”

“That’s what heroes go through. As powerful as you are, you have your own Kryptonite. Readers need to know that about you.”

“I survived, despite your best effort.”

“I’m so happy. I have some great ideas for your posters, but I didn’t expect you home so soon.”

She hugged me, then sat on the edge of the desk. “Well, someone decided not to write me into the epilogue, so I got an early start.”

“You had plenty of moments, and they couldn’t have accomplished this without you. I decided maybe it was up to someone else to clean up the loose ends.”

“It is good to be home. How’s Bunny doing?”

“He’s huge and fat as ever. I’m sure he missed you, but it’s hard to tell with rodents.”

“I’m going upstairs to see him.”

“I don’t blame you. I think I’m done for the day anyway. I’ll have to finish the epilogue later.”

***

That is the saga of my day. Summer is going to be a period of editing, getting artwork together, preparing blog tour posts, and loose ends. (Hopefully reading) For those keeping score, I never tracked word count today, but it feels like about 4500 words.

Back to the grindstone tomorrow.

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Wednesday writing day

I love my flex schedule. It gives me a day here and there to do some writing. I set my alarm just like a regular work day, then ignored it completely.

The crow woke me up just before six o’clock. I swear that is the loudest crow I’ve ever heard, and he likes to let the world know he’s there at the crack of dawn. Maybe he needs a lesson from my Beeman air rifle. (If you’re reading this Sue, just ignore this part.)

After feeding the dogs and making coffee, I started off by checking email, then read the last section of The Viral Blues.

The characters had a big night fighting off the forces of evil, and the story required a bit of cooling down. Lizzie and Lisa did some girl bonding, then Clovis and Gina helped pump everyone up for the next phase.

Jason Fogg wound up wearing a dress, which didn’t make him too happy, and I’m headed toward the final showdown. I also worked in a mild musical gag, because it makes sense for a Lizzie and the hat kind of story.

I’ve been trying something a little different. When I first started writing, I would put on some classical music. Old What’s Her Face complained about it, so I started writing in silence. I’ve found that almost anything can distract me these days, but I decided to do a bit of a test.

I went to YouTube and turned on some soundtracks. I’ve been bouncing between Last of the Mohicans and Ennio Morricone music. Some of those power chords from Once Upon a Time in the West really do it for me.

I’ve only done this a few other times, using Pirates of the Caribbean music. (For Lanternfish, obviously) Sometimes Wagner from the Excalibur soundtrack.

So far it hasn’t made me more productive. I managed a sum total of 2900 new words today. It doesn’t seem any worse either, so there’s that to consider.

It was a good day, but I’m finished now. I’ll probably dedicate some time to my next Story Empire post. I left it unfinished, but need to keep up on that stuff.

Something odd happened too. In my first Expansion Pack post over at Story Empire, I mentioned Stephen King’s story, Thinner. The film is so old it isn’t available anywhere, but there it was on television late one night. I never use my recorder, but I recorded it. If we get a slow evening around here I’m going to re-watch it.

Back to work tomorrow, but it was a pretty good author’s wednesday.

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The author lifestyle

I’ve always updated with warts and all. Seems like lately there have been more warts than cool stuff. It wasn’t in my master plan, but much of it is out of my control.

This is the third weekend in a row that I haven’t been able to write. I’ve done some blog things, and they count. They simply aren’t new fiction.

We watched the Derby yesterday, and I spotted the interference before the race was even over. I may be in the minority, but I agree with the disqualification.

This is the biggest stage in the world for horse racing, and they struggle to survive in this world of extended animal rights. I’ve been at a race where a horse had to be shot, and watched the tractor drag him away. News crews would love that for their headlines, but the sport itself doesn’t need it.

The jockey yesterday put a lot of equine lives at risk, and a few human ones too. This is made more risky by the large field the Derby always has.

We raced out for date night and had a nice dinner at Kahoots. This is one of our regular stopping places. I never learned of the DQ until I googled it later in the evening. It was the right call.

Plans to publish Serang before school lets out are all but gone. I haven’t finished writing it, and there isn’t any time to set up tours and such. Things are about to be incredibly busy at my office, and it’s field trip season for my position too. This poses a new issue.

Summer releases have always sucked for me. Yak Guy is a pretty fair story, but it goes relatively unnoticed for that reason. I can toss Serang to the summer wolves, or hold it back for later. I want to release The Viral Blues in conjunction with the Halloween season. This story seems to still have a realistic publishing goal.

If I hold Serang back, I don’t want to try two releases at the same time. This would make Serang more of a December release, but it has nothing to do with the holidays.

Some of this is my fault, because I’m shooting for three releases this year. It’s a tough goal to meet while holding down a full time job.

I’ve always understood the commercial reasons to write series instead of stand alone novels. I largely ignored it and wrote what I wanted. Right or wrong.

My inner circle talked me into it, so I’m committed now. A series is the one thing I haven’t taken on, and maybe it’s time. Of course, I never do anything half-way…

There are two kinds of series. One kind has an overarching plot, and the other involves more stories in the same universe using the same characters. I’m writing one of each. Lanternfish is intended to become a trilogy. The Hat will have more stories in the same universe.

Many of the overarching series have supporting stories to keep interest going. This is what Serang is. She is a supporting character to Lanternfish who earned her own story.

I mentioned this, because not everyone reads every blog post I throw out there. I’ve probably already talked about all of this in the past. Serang’s job is to preserve interest in the Lanternfish series until I can publish the next volume in 2020. The Hat will return in October.

In a perfect world, Serang would be ready to step on the stage and do her job. This would give me all summer to finish The Viral Blues.

It isn’t a perfect world. I may have to start leaving the house on Saturdays for a few mornings just so I can meet my goals.

They say all blog posts perform better with a picture of some kind. It has nothing to do with writing, but enjoy a picture of Otto falling asleep on his feet.

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