Tag Archives: The Yak Guy Project

My 2018 Business Plan

Like most years, I’m going to assume this will get lost in a sea of New Year’s Resolution posts. I’ve been pleasantly surprised in the past, so I’ll put it up today and see how it fares.

This year, my business plan is going to look a bit different. In the past it was all about taking on one more thing. Maybe that would be the thing that helped me really accomplish something. I always felt like if I worked just a bit harder, maybe it would be enough.

What I wound up doing was dedicating so much to those things that I had much less time for writing. I enjoy writing, and hate social media, so why did I go down that path? Previous business plans always included time for something new to test out. To be honest, Goodreads, Facebook, and Google Plus have all been a disappointment. Twitter still seems to provide some benefit, but not when compared to the time it requires. Facebook requires payment for anything to actually get seen now.

This year, I’m going to fall for yet another author philosophy. Most of these have a grain of truth to them, even though nothing seems to be the magic bullet. This one is: the best promotion an author can do is to release his next book.

I’m excited about 2018, because I have a head start. I have two complete books to release in the vault right now.

The Yak Guy ProjectThe oldest one is The Yak Guy Project. This is the novel I submitted to a publisher. If it isn’t picked up, I could release it around the end of winter. If it is picked up, there is still a chance it would be a 2018 release.

If a publisher wants it, the cover will probably change, but I can live with that. I can still use my Lisa Burton posters for promotion. The only thing remaining is to send it to my formatter, and that takes about a week.

Yak Guy is the one about a lazy young man who wakes up in an alternative world. He must learn many of the things he failed to learn in his previous life. He is helped along the way by a string of mentors and situation that are based upon the Major Arcana of the tarot.

The HatI’m also parked on The Hat. I’m excited about this one. I really enjoyed crafting these characters and having them interact with each other. This one will come out some time in January, and it’s already back from the formatter. I really like the Lisa Burton posters for this one too. Something new for me is the idea that Lizzie and the hat have more stories to tell, and could show up again one day.

The Hat is about a hard working young woman who’s dealing with some bad breaks. She comes across an old hat that is actually a being from another dimension. Together they form a symbiosis that allows them to accomplish more than either of them could do alone. Like I said, I’m really excited about the characters in this one. It gets pretty crazy and I think you guys will like it.

During my vacation, I only got two short windows to work on Estivation. I’m about ten percent of the way into it. My intention is to have this also be a novella, but I can’t be certain until I finish it. I’ve adopted the idea that stories will be as long as they need to be.

This means, if I manage to write about 30,000 new words of fiction this year, I will have three books release in 2018. I’m pretty sure I can manage that and more.

Releasing a book is also work, I might add. I’ll need to pre-write at least thirty blog tour posts to release three books. I have a living document with topics, and can reuse the topics for each book. There is also monitoring of those posts and all that goes with it.

If luck holds out, I will have ample time to write Macabre Macaroni stories for October, and may even manage a few short stories. Enough short stories could lead to a third Experimental Notebook, maybe for 2019. I’d also like to start on another novel length work.

In order to do this, some things have to go. The Entertaining Stories blog has always been ground zero for my writing career, and I’m going to keep it that way. I also want to dedicate myself to making Story Empire even bigger and more valuable to our followers over there.

Entertaining Stories feeds into all the popular social media sites, so I’ll have a presence on them. I get Facebook alerts, so that helps to a degree. (Even though most of them are from Facebook reaching for my wallet.) My blog even feeds into Goodreads and my Amazon author page.

I’ve never been hard to find, and the blog is a pretty easy way to reach me. However, I can still be found on the other places too. I just won’t monitor those as closely as the past.

Giving up some of the social media time means taking time for more of what I enjoy. I have some favorite authors I haven’t read in years. I want to remedy that in 2018.

I’ve always been a sporadic blogger, and that isn’t likely to change. I tend to land about five posts per week, occasionally more or less. I also have to keep to my Story Empire schedule.

I should also have more time to dedicate to invitations. I try to provide whatever a host asks for, but it got difficult last year. I want to enjoy any guest appearances or mutual promos we manage to come up with.

Lisa Burton Radio is still a blast for me, and it seems to be well received every week. I’ll stick with Thursdays for Lisa’s show. She is about due for another wave of guests as I type this. Keep this promo opportunity in mind if you’re doing a blog tour or just want to reach a new audience. I enjoy working with all the talented people on these, so there is something in it for me too.

And that’s it for my 2018 goals. They should be easy to reach. They should allow me more freedom to accept what comes my way. They should also be a lot more fun.

So welcome, 2018. We’re excited to have you. Lisa even says you can borrow her shoes.

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A Doubt filled weekend

Doubt

Yesterday involved a bunch of problems, sponsored by WordPress and Apple.

Apple’s iOS had a bug that hit some users, but not others. It forces a symbol replacement for a capital I when you type. I googled how to fix it, and they suggested a kind of macro that tells the computer when you type “I” what you really mean for it to do is type friggin “I”. It didn’t work.

A different website promised a repair was coming soon from Apple, so I checked. The update was already available, and fixed everything.

The second issue came from WordPress. It seems they’ve driven away all the decent blogging apps, and I’ve been using the actual WordPress app. One of the good things about it was the way it handled pictures. That all changed.

I used to be able to size, move, and tag photos. Today that’s all limited. For instance, if I tell it to move the raven to the left, that’s no problem. However; now it will no longer allow me to type beside it. The image insists upon taking up the entire area. That’s why the photo is centered above on today’s post.

I used to have two options for tagging images, but today I only have one. I can schedule the post, then edit it inside WordPress, but it worked well two days ago.

The other thing it’s doing now is randomly changing the pitch of my type. All is well if I just keep going, but if I go back to make a correction, all the future words want to be in some kind of micro-text. I have to delete my last good letter, then retype from there to get it right.

None of the WordPress issues are major, but it worked fine a couple of days ago. They need to address this, and while they’re at it,would it be too much to ask if I wanted to actually center some text, and change the pitch of my letters inside the app? As an example, I will add a section break below this paragraph. I will have to left justify it, post it, then edit it inside the WordPress Admin function to make it look right.

***

I went to the writing cabin around nine o’clock this morning. I spent yesterday working through The Hat and some suggestions I received. It really is looking good right now.

I plucked the hat from my desk and dropped him on my head. He was configured as a grey fedora, his preferred look. I opened the window, and gestured outside to Doubt, the raven. “I don’t think we need you for this one.”

It was an odd feeling. I have doubts about all my stories, but this time I feel great about one.

The hat said, “Go catch mice or something. Craig and I got this covered.”

Doubt glared at us like we brought his daughter home late.

“Go on, buddy. We don’t need you. In fact, Craig and I are ready to publish,” the hat said.

“Well, not exactly. Lisa is still with Sean Harrington, and we need her promotional posters. We may not have those until the end of the year.”

“So, what are we supposed to work on today?”

“I received feedback on The Yak Guy Project from a dear friend. I thought we might work our way through that.”

“What’s that got to do with the old hat?”

“Nothing really. I thought you might like to read over my shoulder. Lisa isn’t here, and maybe you have some suggestions.”

“You’re probably smart to come to me. Besides, I wasn’t doin’ anything anyway.”

I turned on my computer, and sat up an iPad beside it for the redline copy of my book.

“So, that Internet has the corrections, and the other Internet has the actual book? Is that the deal?” The hat asked.

“They’re two different devices, but they work on the Internet.”

“That’s what I said.”

“It’s, well it’s like… Yeah, we can check the suggestions on one, and make any changes on the other one.”

“Sounds like a good plan.”

I scrolled down the redline to the first suggestion.

“Slow down. Still reading here,” the hat said.

“Sorry.” I pondered the first suggestion and looked across the room.

Doubt lowered his head into what I call his classic vulture pose. “Kaaaaw, ha, ha, ha.”

“Oh, shit! Why couldn’t you just leave while I felt good about The Hat”

“Kaaw.”

“Hey, Yak Guy is kind of a dork. I gotta tell you, Lizzie has her shit together a lot more than this guy,” the hat said.

“Yeah, they’re different stories. In The Hat, Lizzie is supposed to be a go-getter who needs a bit of direction–”

“Your’s truly.”

“Exactly. Yak Guy needs a major overhaul in his life. Where you are more of Lizzie’s partner, Yak Guy needs a mentor.”

“Man I feel sorry for that guy.”

“He’s a yak.”

“How can a yak be a mentor?”

“How can a hat be a partner?”

“TouchĂ©. I’ll just go with it.”

“Thank you.”

***

Between the evil glances and croaking of Doubt, and trying to explain everything to the hat, it was a long day. The book, The Hat, is nearly ready to go. I’m expecting to hear from one more reader, and need some artwork.

The Yak Guy Project keeps waffling from deleting it entirely, making it into a trunk novel, self publishing it, or submitting it to an actual publisher. I kind of need to narrow the distance between those bookends somehow. This weekend is in the books, so I don’t have to decide anything today. I need to get on with it though.

How about some covers. Everyone loves covers, right?

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Back in the swing of things

I went to work on Monday. I figured I could get more done at half speed by going to work than I could by staying at home. I ran out of gas about halfway through the afternoon, but that time got longer each day. I hit it hard all day today.

My cold doesn’t mean I was completely idle on the writing front. I sent out two copies of The Hat to beta readers. I also received beta feedback on my novel, The Yak Guy Project. In addition, I have two Lisa Burton Radio interviews to work on now, and several more inquiries.

Today started like any other; in the dark and covered by bulldogs.

Frankie is across my lap just below Otto in this image. (They love me.) Before I left for work, I received the first Lisa Burton promotional poster for The Hat. That gives me a cover and one poster.

By the time I got home, I already received one full beta workup on The Hat. I am so excited about the remarks here. It went over well, and I can’t wait to share it with you. Tonight, I sent off a lengthy email to Sean Harrington for the second promotional Lisa poster. I included a lot of photos this time, because it’s a big scene in the story being represented.

Looks like this weekend is all about editing either the novel or the novella. I also have some interviews to get to. No idea what kind of time I’m going to have, but it feels good to get back to full power.

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A good day, if a long one

I stayed up late again gaming with my son. He wanted to game again today, but I told him I had some work to do. I started out at six AM, and didn’t stop editing until one PM. It’s a real joy to have talented friends who can mark things up for me. It looks like I still have the Apple problem that capitalizes any attribution after a question mark. Those were still peppered throughout the manuscript.

Yak Guy is looking pretty darned good though.

I hurried up and cruised through social media after I finished, because it’s a necessary evil. Then I wrote and/or scheduled three blog posts. I did all of that with a bulldog in my lap too. It’s like being a handicap golfer. Frankie is my writing handicap.

Good news; all of my task lists is completely checked off.

Bad news; after my marathon day, I return to the paycheck job tomorrow after having been out for a week. I expect to be swamped until October.

Got some good news about the anthology I’m participating in, so I have to work up some things for it this week in the evenings. Probably not tomorrow though, because I have critique group right after work.

Here is a picture of a fun beer I tried at date night this weekend:

Sadly, I did not see a pink elephant. I kind of wish I had another one right now. I’m tired enough that the elephant might actually show up tonight.

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Checking in

I’ve been pretty quiet here for the past week. (For me) It was the work week from hell, and it really had nothing to do with work. I had my critique group on Wednesday, and never got home until about 9:00. For a guy who gets up at four AM, that makes for a long day. I ate some leftovers and stayed up until they had time to settle. I don’t do well eating and going straight to bed these days.

Critique group went well. Everyone likes The Hat. They thought Lizzie was a character they could get behind, and it seems to be off to a good start. I have some written critiques to address, but I’ll get to them this weekend.

Whereas; Wednesday and Thursday all felt like one big day, Thursday night was great. That’s when my baseball team swept the Dodgers out of town, and I got home at a reasonable time. On the spur of the moment I decided to do a free day for The Enhanced League. It moved some copies, and did about as well as I expected it to. It was mostly in fun. This happened though:

That tells me that under these specific categories there isn’t much competition. Either that, or there isn’t much during the late summer. Either way, I’ll take it. Who knows if I checked at the peak time or not. It could have gotten higher at some point in the day. I sincerely hope those of you who grabbed a copy enjoy it.

Honestly, I may do this again if my team manages to win the wildcard game or something. It was kind of fun.

Last night was another super long day. My parents, along with my brother and his family, came through town. They flew out for Alaska today. Everyone wanted to go to dinner last night. It was great seeing everyone, but made for another long day. I think I got home at 9:00. I also couldn’t have a drink, since I had to meet everyone after work, then drive everyone back to the hotel. They didn’t stay with us this time, because we aren’t close enough to the airport.

My brother is a home brewer. He brought me a jug of apple cider, one of mead, and a beer he made. He wants me to test drive them for him, and who am I to argue.

Frankie, the alarm puppy, went of about 5:30 this morning. I’m counting it as sleeping in, because I need the positive perspective. They both wanted a lot of poodle time with Dad today, so typing was slowed down a bit.

I added new words to The Hat, but not in bragable numbers. I spent more time going back over what I have. It’s a plants and payoffs type thing. If I want something to happen in chapter nine, I have to set it up in chapter four. It’s all forward movement, but that’s where typos happen too. Cut half a sentence, add a new half, and months later when rereading it makes no sense. That’s how it works for me. Does anyone else run into that?

This morning, Lizzie got fired, crashed her car, saved one of six babies, shot one guy then tortured him later. She also destroyed the upright bass that belongs to the hat. They’re at about their lowest point, but things are about to take an upward turn for them. I need to look at it with fresh eyes and make sure their emotions are suitable.  There was a lot of action, so some reflection is appropriate for my next blast. You know, after I go over it a bunch of times.

Speaking of the upright bass, these things must have more names than any instrument in existence: Upright bass, contra bass, double bass, bass fiddle, etc.

I’m typing this at Peterson Toyota. My truck needs serviced, and they have these little work stations I can use. These folks have always treated me well, until today. There is a service representative here today that is an absolute bitch. She acted like I was interrupting her day, and I had an appointment. She made some rude and condescending remarks, and it kind of pisses me off. Just in case anyone from Peterson reads this, her name is Bobbie Jo. I will also note that my wife and I bought two very expensive cars here, I brought my father here from Nevada to buy his Tundra, and sent a co-worker here for his Toyota. My Tundra is a 2013, and I may be replacing it in a couple of years. Peterson isn’t the only dealership in town. They don’t have to kiss my ass, but some common courtesy would be nice. I can do without the eye rolls, sighs, and snotty remarks.

My wife has to work tomorrow. I have some serious editing to do on The Yak Guy Project, but I need a table to set up both iPads.  It’s our plan to assemble about a half ton of table when I get home. After that, the big flooring project of 2017 will be complete.

Hope you guys are having a great weekend so far.

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Not bad for a flex day

Like all flex days, this one started off with a task list last night. The day started with my alarm dog at about six o'clock.

Otto and Frankie play together all the time now. A big part of this involves him feeling much better. We took more detailed X-rays about two weeks ago, and had an additional expert look at them. He has several problems, but there was concern about one specific issue. It involves bone tissue that is degenerating and regrowing.

Our vet said the possibilities were bone cancer, and a bone infection. The cancer is almost unheard of with a dog Otto's age, and the infection is also extremely rare. He wanted to try an antibiotic in an abundance of caution, but thinks maybe the X-ray simply showed something that isn't there.

Here's the deal, though. After two days of antibiotic, Otto started feeling better. After a week, I have my boy back. He runs around, plays ball, and is acting like his old self. He still limps on occasion, but two weeks ago he was dragging himself across the floor by his front legs.

How the hell does anything get a bone infection?

They've been absolutely crazy today.

Oh, come on guys, you're making me look bad now. They were playing, I swear.

I wound up doing some maintenance on my part of the Story Empire blog, and finished that. About an hour ago, I found even more to do there, but still consider it a win.

I also explored and joined a new app a friend told me about. Something called Triberr, but don't ask me anything about it just yet.

I finished the edits on a 5500 word short story for an anthology, and delivered the edited version to them.

Edits on the Yak Guy Project are finished. I'm going to put it aside for a while to work on other projects. Quite honestly, I'm thinking about submitting it to a publisher. I haven't submitted anything for years, but maybe the hybrid author is the way to go. Right now, I just need time to think about it all.

I got another five star review today for the Second Experimental Notebook. I need to write a third one of these, and they make a great side project. Not just yet though.

First I need more micro-fiction for October. I intended to write one today, but never got that far. I might rough one out while my ballgame is on.

Ah, here you go. See all happy today.

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Dragon Ass

Okay, this isn't a post about dragons. It's a post about attitude. My regulars will understand how my mojo flew out the window this week, and it's only fair to give you a small update.

Our veterinarian and our favorite breeder both gave us a measure of comfort with our loss of little Nyx. The vet said that heat stroke should not have happened in thirty minutes. Not with her in a shaded back yard and access to water. He said that Nyx may have had some other problem that was not known and contributed to her death. The other dogs were out there too and were unscathed.

Thinking back on it, she was the one who sat on the air conditioner vent regularly. Maybe he's onto something.

The breeder said she's lost dogs to heat before, and our dogs' father is susceptible to heat problems. She thinks we're lovely people, and can't think of better pet owners. I appreciate her sentiments, but beyond the regular bulldog problems with heat, maybe this bloodline is more susceptible to heat problems.

There is the possibility that our son isn't telling us the whole truth either. Maybe it was more than thirty minutes. We were only gone two hours, and nyx was happily licking my ear before we left.

It could also be a hideous cocktail of those facts. At this point we know all we're ever going to know, and the assessments are not conclusive.

We're both devastated. My wife couldn't go to work on Wednesday, and I had to leave after about an hour and come home myself. We both regularly place a hand on our remaining dogs just to see if they're breathing. We had them both wearing wet bandanas yesterday, because even with the air conditioner and overhead fan, we couldn't get the house below seventy-eight degrees last night. (I almost put one on myself.)

Frankie is having a hard time too. She wouldn't eat the first day, and kept looking for her sister. We finally had to buy a new outer bowl, run the glass insert through the dishwasher, and then she ate just fine. The other stuff smelled like Nyx, and I'm sure that's what the problem was. She's needed some extra ball playing, and spent a lot of time in my lap this morning with what we call poodle time.

Otto is still convalescing himself. He has good days and bad days. We have another appointment to see what more we can do for him. It's some kind of pinched nerve like sciatica, and that's about all we know. He feels decent and wants to play, which leads to a tough night after the exertion.

I'm still waiting for a formatted manuscript. I'll publish The Enhanced League as soon as I get one, then I'll put out a call for blog hosts. I'm the one being difficult and demanding here, in case you're wondering.

Beyond that, I assembled and scheduled next week's Lisa Burton Radio post. I also moved another one ahead in the queue. I need to keep working on these, lest my volunteers think I'm blowing them off, but with twenty five applicants, it does no good to get them all ready at once.

I finally got around to changing my wallpaper. Since July is determined to be so hot, I thought heat was an appropriate theme. Heat has caused all the disasters around my life this week too.

I'm going to see if I can work up a couple more promotional posts for Enhanced League. I may have enough, but might find a decent excerpt to share somewhere and those make fun posts.

I need to catch up on some reading too. I don't know if my mood is great for that until I try. I have several books I want to get to and may take a shot at one.

I really need to get on with The Yak Guy Project, but have been putting it off. This is for a couple of selfish reasons. I don't want to get tangled up during the Enhanced League release, and I don't want to release a novel during the summer months. Releasing Enhanced League around Major League Baseball's Allstar Break might not be so bad.

So that's me this weekend. I'll get some things done, but I'm kind of draggin' ass at the moment. (Wow, I've always free written the blog, but I'm starting a lot of sentences with I today. I don't think I'll edit it either.)

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