Tag Archives: vacation

A little writing

It’s nothing earth shattering, but it all counts. I’ve managed around 5400 words in the last two days. I took this week off, mostly because I deserve it.

We didn’t do much of anything during the holiday other than watch the prequels to Yellowstone. I never had much interest in the main series, but Sam Elliot and Harrison Ford have some draw for me. These were good, and I’ll try to keep up with the Ford/Mirin version as the new episodes drop.

Old What’s Her Face returned to work yesterday, so I cracked open my manuscript. I only have Mari’s swamp story going right now and need another one to balance things out. I decided not to start something else until I finish this one.

Most of those new words came today. I’d stopped at a tough point to get going again, but muscled through it yesterday. Today I had one difficult trial for Mari to get through, but it blossomed into so much more that I had to keep going.

She wound up closing the gap on the men she’s following, but got trapped on a crumbling bridge at night. No food, no water, and no grazing for her animals. The bridge isn’t trustworthy in daylight, so it’s deadly at night.

For whatever reason, she took some injuries and I left her trying to heal up where the animals could drink and feed. I think it turned out to be a pretty decent section.

With holiday leave included, I don’t have to return to the office until next Tuesday. I might even be able to finish Mari’s story, but am not counting on that. This one needs a bigger denouement than some of my others and I’m not going to rush just to get done.

At some point, I’m going to have to do some serious editing. I have the Space Chimp story, one for Lizzie and the hat, and Mari’s story that will need some attention.

This needs to get done, so that will be my task after I finish this draft.

I’m finding some neat things to include using Google Maps. This is a post apocalyptic tale, so ruins of those places can make it into my stories. I had her stop at the Stennis Space Center, but need to flesh it out a bit more.

There is a cool dinosaur park just ahead of her. The kind with a trail that has Dino-statues in the forest. It isn’t a day away from where she is so I might have to miss that one. Her mission won’t allow her to slow down and goof off without a good reason. She would pass it around noon and wouldn’t normally stop. Including it might feel kind of forced. I know of one thing that might work to include it, but need to sleep on that.

I’ll get back to the manhunt tomorrow.

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This! Was my vacation day??

This was one of those rare opportunities that shows up occasionally. If I take one day off, I could garner four days in a row. Tomorrow is a holiday and it all just fell together.

My plan was to catch up with both of my manuscripts, then add new words. I read through my Hat project over the weekend, so that left my post apocalyptic story.

I spent the morning getting familiar with it once more. I left it at an interesting place, so I figured I might add some new words.

When Old What’s Her Face got off work, she wanted me to go pick up the dog’s meds. She said, “You can get your hair cut while you’re out.”

This really wasn’t my plan, and the vet is a forty-mile round trip from the house. I may have huffed a bit.

She said, “You can do it all tomorrow. Otto isn’t completely out of pills.”

That was enough for me. Rather than lose full momentum for two days, I loaded up and went to town. One bit of good news came from the trip. Turns out the vet made an arrangement with Costco now. They can call the meds in there for us. (Massive volume buying power.)

It’s about fifteen minutes from the house, and their price is 50% off. Doesn’t help this time, but will help in the future. It’s even on my route home from work. Since I was out anyway, I stopped an got my hair cut.

There’s a fairly good chance that I’ll have Mari digging up a fresh grave before bed time tonight. If not, she’ll be doing it in the morning.

Today wasn’t perfect, but those things needed to get done, too. It isn’t like I’m getting George R.R. Martin level hate mail to hurry up and get my next book out there.

Here’s to tomorrow! New words for sure. That’s what I enjoy the most, and it’s going to happen.

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Vacation time trickles out…

I have everything I need to publish Serang today, but I procrastinated. People aren’t hurting for something fresh from me, so I have time.

  • Side note, still time to read Viral Blues for Halloween.

I’d like to publish this before the year runs out, and next weekend is a fair option. I need to devote some time to the blurb for this one. Because it’s a supporting story for Lanternfish, it takes place in a mildly fantasy setting. It isn’t quite as big as Lanternfish, but there is a dragon of sorts, (Maybe two or three depending on how you count) and I don’t want to mislead anyone.

Serang is a coming of age tale, so I need to communicate that. It takes place in a time of great political upheaval, so that has to get in there. I don’t want people to be upset because there are fantasy elements, or disappointed that it isn’t epic fantasy. A bit more thought might help when writing this blurb. By next weekend I might have it all sorted out.

What did I do with my spare time? I spent some time supporting the Something Wicked blog tour, along with some of my older posts. Today there is a blog push from the paid promo I did, and I already saw one sale from that. Fingers crossed for more.

I’ve also been staying up late for the World Series. So far the home team hasn’t won a single game. That’s never happened before, and it’s been a great series. Game seven is tonight, so I’ll be tired at work tomorrow. A nap seems like a good idea so I’m not too flat in the morning.

We had a chore day, so we got the camper put away for winter, and managed a date night out of the deal. Halloween is the only beer tour I participate in these days, and got my glow in the dark tee-shirt. I’m wearing it right now.

I spent a couple of days adding thousands of words to my side project. This one is a cyberpunk tale set in a futuristic version of San Francisco. It challenged me to use science fiction to exaggerate some issues we see in current society, and it challenged my world-building skills, too.

I’m very happy with a piece I wrote yesterday that went down during the Chinese New Year parade. A cyberpunk version of that parade. If the stars align, I can publish it on actual Chinese New Year for a bit of extra luck. I’m year of the rat, next year is rat. Maybe I’m due for some luck. There are rats in the story…

The story is called Grinders, and I’m at 71,000 words right now. Getting it done this year shouldn’t be too tough, and if I can afford the artwork, publishing on Chinese New Year seems realistic.

I didn’t do anything particularly exciting, and it felt great. I did what I wanted, when I wanted to do it. I was mildly productive and I wasn’t at the office. Sometimes it’s good to have a break from the workaday world, and that’s what I did.

Hope everyone has a Happy Halloween, and finds a way to take a small break on occasion.

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Saturday checking in

Things have been pretty crazy around here. I (nearly) finished up my blog tour for Viral Blues this week. The big climax was the Something Wicked tour with all my Story Empire friends. I like to reblog my appearances in hopes of sending the host a bit of traffic. For that leg of the tour, I had my own guest that day and could not post over the top of them. They deserved the spotlight, and brought us some wonderful options for Halloween reading.

I say almost finished, because I have one interview that will post on Halloween. It promises to be a good interview, and I’ll share it here. Then, that’s it for Viral Blues. I’ll watch for reviews, and if they’re on BookBub I can tweet them out. BookBub is starting to warm on me. I need more followers there, and am willing to follow back.

This is where I come to a rift between heart and head. My heart wants to return to drafting of new material. I still have two projects in the works, and one of them is near conclusion. I also have some fun ideas for the Lanternfish sequel, but it is lagging a bit behind. I may have a little maneuvering room here this coming week.

My head is telling me to release Serang. This one is a supporting story to Lanternfish, and not part of the main trilogy. I made big strides toward publishing today, and expect to publish it next week.

This may actually be a cover reveal. I don’t recall sharing the image before. With Serang, I’ll need to do a bit of promotion. I’ll do a blog tour, but I don’t think it will be as extensive. I only have two specific pieces of Lisa Burton art, plus I can recycle the one from Lanternfish. I haven’t even started writing posts yet, so that’s going to eat into my time.

I have my concerns about this story, but I freak out about all my releases. Lanternfish had comedy bits, and they were well received. Serang was one of the more serious pirates, and her origin story will be serious, too. (Sorry to disappoint those comedy fans.) I have some neat settings and situations in the story, so we’ll all find out together. The few coming-of-age stories I’ve written were well received, so fingers crossed. A lot of things about Serang are explained in this story.

My wiggle room is in the form of vacation, paid vacation. I’m getting paid to be an author. (Don’t laugh, I’m counting it as a win.) I don’t have to return to work until Halloween. Old What’s Her Face is out of town for a couple of days, and that helps, too.

I’ll spend the next few days dabbling with blurb ideas, maybe cobble together some promotional posts. I’ll check my list of potential hosts, and see who I haven’t put the touch on lately. I really have no idea who I’m going to ask.

I may even pull up that nearly finished draft and add a chapter to it. It’s science fiction, so it won’t tangle with any fantasy ideas I’m working on.

No matter what, I’m breaking for the World Series. I still have a few remaining pumpkin beers and can’t be expected to work all the time. I don’t have a favorite team, and nobody this year has me cheering against them either. So far the games have been great, and I hope they continue on that path.

Let me hear from you. Are you watching the Series? Do you have a favorite team? Am I crazy for releasing another book on the heels of Viral Blues? Do you like or hate the cover? Are you sick of all this book promo?

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Checking in for the weekend

I had a houseful of company this weekend. It’s just easier to step back and spend family time, than step away from them to keep this place updated.

I usually try to blog around three times per week, more occasionally. With the Viral Blues tour going on, it was pretty simple to reblog wherever I was and keep some original content available.

It occurred to me it might be easier to appear less places per week and spread the tour out. Prior to this release, I crammed about a dozen or more appearances into a ten day period, then went crazy trying to keep up with all of them. Spreading it all out didn’t make it any easier. You try stuff and you learn. It was worth a shot.

If nothing else, it could be more productive, since I’m targeting the Halloween season this time. Maybe there’s someone out there who hasn’t started looking for a story yet. Not everyone gets into Halloween for a long as I do.

All of my posts are original material, so following me around isn’t too boring. By now, my regulars all know about my book. You’ve either gotten a copy, or decided it wasn’t for you. The purpose of touring is to reach a larger audience. My hosts have regulars I haven’t met, or only know peripherally. Maybe one of them will take a chance on me, that’s kind of the theory.

The good news is all the reblogging is about to stop. (Hears a small cheer spread across the blogosphere.) This is because I’m also participating in the Something Wicked tour with my partners over at Story Empire. We’re all taking our show on the road to promote a few suitable Halloween titles. This means I’ll be hosting someone every day next week. My appearances will be on their blogs, but I won’t post over the top of my guests. Here is the Something Wicked tour schedule if you want to check in on any of us.

At Story Empire we try to bring our fellow authors valuable content. Sometimes it involves story craft, others it’s about promotion, all kinds of topics. We’re all authors, too, and we have to promote our own wares occasionally. I hope you guys take advantage of this to meet some outstanding authors, maybe find a new blog to follow, or even just spread the word. I’ll do my best to keep up with the ones I wrote and answer questions, or participate in the comments.

In other news, I have a full work-week ahead of me, then I’m burning some leave time. My goal is to get Serang off to the formatter, then prepare some posts to tour her story around. I’ll have to identify a few hosts and put the touch on them for Serang.

I’m probably crazy for scheduling them so close together, but I don’t see a lot of options. At least my schedule will be clear for whatever comes next.

As far as what comes next, I’d love to get back to HMS Lanternfish. I glanced at it briefly, and don’t even remember some of what I’ve written. Before I take it up again, I’ll have to read it from the beginning to get back into it. That’s one of the bad things about long breaks. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone on this. Promo has to happen, and the break was necessary.

It was a nice family weekend, we had some great seafood one night, and had a good visit. I don’t mind losing some time for that. Hope all of you had wonderful weekends, too.

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Vacation ends

Time to go back to the office tomorrow. I’m regretting not taking the next two days off, but I hate being behind at work, too. My staff has been working, and I’m sure there is a pile awaiting me.

Vacation was filled with obstacles, but I did the best I could. I never did look into promotional blog posts and should have. I don’t need any of them until September, but I like to work ahead. Blogging isn’t like drafting new work, and I could create one every evening if need be.

One of those obstacles was my yardwork, but that is all finished and I’m still married. The peaches are about gone, and they’ll be missed until next year.

My word goal was plucked out of thin air, based upon what I’m capable of. The problem with those kind of projections is assuming there won’t be interruptions. I failed to hit 20K, but I did hit 10,400. Total is at 17. 4 K, so it was a productive vacation.

I month ago, I went on the hunt for a New Orleans phone book to help with character and place names. I’ve never been able to score one. I like this area because of the “melting pot” that city offers. I know not many have land lines, but I don’t want to call them anyway. I only want to browse through names for my fiction.

I failed on NOLA, but I did score this one:

I don’t see why Baton Rouge isn’t just as good, and I put it to good use today. Lanternfish needed some new characters, and this helped me come up with some decent names.

I also worked up a raft of deadly dangerous sea creatures. These are based upon the real world Portuguese Man of War, but they’re a bit different in my fantasy world.

I had to leave Lanternfish at sea, but they are approaching a nearby port in hopes of finding one of two people who can serve as sailing master.

My next flex day is Monday, so I should score some writing time this weekend. After that, it may be two weeks before I can tackle it again.

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Small updates

I still have tool problems, but those are all solved tonight. This is my way of saying I’ll have to finish my tree pruning tomorrow. At least everything is in order now, and I should make short work of the remainder. Even have a fresh saw blade now.

I spent some serious time with the Lanternfish project. Beginnings are always tough, and this one is tougher because it’s the second book in a trilogy. In reality, it takes time to stock a ship and man her. In fiction, I could just glance off that and set sail. I think a better option for me is to merge some of this. It comes across a bit more realistically, but they’ll get moving in a better time frame.

To keep things interesting, there are some root monster antics. While the pirates are making ready, the monsters have some assignments to deal with. This is going to force me to tone them down for a spell later on. I believe the little guys are better in small doses. It’s the “leave ’em wanting more” theory in action.

As soon as we hit the open sea, I have a fantasy creature I’m going to weave in. This will also serve as a bit of foreshadowing, so bonus there. There is also going to be an enemy waiting for them, so I can get right to some adventure after taking time to get underway.

It came in at about 3500 words today. Since there were no new words yesterday, I’m behind on my target of 20,000 words during my vacation.

I also read that book I’ve been getting to. I gave The Scout: Dark Crossings, by D. L. Cross five stars. D. L. Cross is actually Staci Troilo. This is a short story that stands alone in her Invasion series. I’ve read the first novel too, and loved it.

My suggestion is to read The Scout. It only takes a half-hour or so, and I think you’ll like it. If you like it, there is a whole series in this setting. I’ll be reading the whole thing.

Tomorrow is the day I call my parents, so some of my morning will be dedicated to that. Pruning trees will fit in well with that timetable. I don’t know if I can check in with Lanternfish, but it could happen.

I always want more, but my task-list is getting checked off a bit here and there.

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Make a plan, work the plan

This post poses a conundrum for me, because it could fit into Story Empire, too. It winds up here, because it’s partially about my vacation plans. This one is another stay-cation for me. I want to write and just get some down time.

I’ve gotten to a place in writing where I can get a lot done, and there are a few tricks involved. These take time to farm, but harvesting them really speeds things up. First, I have about six storyboards going at all times. This doesn’t leave me pondering what I might write next. This is a common problem among fiction writers. Think of this like a farm, because it’s a long term project. Some boards are complete, others are partially complete, and some are just a collection of loose notes on index cards. Whenever a decent idea hits me, I make an index card and add it to the appropriate board. (Or start a new one.) Today, when I finish one project, I can dive right into the next one.

Next is my Pinterest app. I don’t know too many authors who use Pinterest, because all of the focus is on promotion. I don’t tend to use it like that. I have character boards, setting boards, and more specific ones like Pirates, or The Hat. When I surf through them, I get a lot of inspiration for my stories. It’s nice to refer to when describing a visual aspect of a tale.

Third is my new concept of more than one story at a time. I’m learning that it’s possible, and super productive. My current theory is to make them very different stories. Character traits don’t seem to bleed over this way, and character arcs don’t get muddled because the stories are so different.

My vacation starts tomorrow, and won’t return me to the office until next Thursday. Now I need some kind of plan.

  • I need to cut down a significant portion of my peach tree. This isn’t productive on the writing front, but works well on the staying married front.
  • Hauling the tree residue away has to be part of this mix, and is a chore in itself.
  • I need to buy and read one book. This one is a short read, and ought to work well for me. Then there are reviews to post on multiple fronts, too. Copy and paste helps here.
  • HMS Lanternfish hasn’t even set sail yet. It’s time to stock her with pirates and supplies, then hit the open sea. I’d love to get 30,000 words down, but 20K might be more realistic.
  • I need to get some blog posts written for The Viral Blues. It will be release time before I know it, and I want to be ready. Might hit up some of my favorite hosts to check their availability during my break, too.
  • There is a loose plan for some group promo at Story Empire. I need to dedicate some thought to that, and see what kind of posts I might need.
  • I have the formatted manuscript for Viral Blues in hand. I need to check it on every program I have. Stories about Lizzie and the hat have a few silly graphics as part of the shtick. These can be a nightmare formatting wise. Again, I want to be ready. I won’t know for sure until I push it through Amazon’s machinery, but any errors I can identify now will make that part easier.
  • Blurb writing. (La la la. I can’t hear you.)

I’m probably leaving stuff out, but that’s how it goes sometimes. I’m hoping to take full advantage of the Halloween season for Viral Blues. I’m still waiting on a couple of Lisa Burton promo posters, and should have the last ones in time. This means the easy link for The Yak Guy Project will be replaced by one for Viral Blues. If you haven’t read Yak Guy, all you have to do is click that cover image in the sidebar. He’ll live forever on Amazon, but you’ll have to go looking for him.

I’m still considering a pre-release for Viral Blues. My results with these have been mixed. What is the current consensus with you guys? Do pre-release books gain your attention, or just annoy you?

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A writing day

I drew the lucky straw for the first time in years. My flex day at work is Friday. Combine this with the Monday holiday, and I get a four day weekend.

We gain a lot of leave hours where I work, so I decided to add a day to my weekend today. If I’d have been thinking, I’d have taken Tuesday instead. Today costs me 10 hours of leave; whereas, Tuesday would only cost me eight. Oh well, I’m glad to be off.

It’s raining like hell here today, and as much as I love it, Frankie does not. She’s one of our bulldogs, and I spent the bulk of my morning trying to get her outside so she could pee. She wanted out, but not in the rain.

Her older brother, Otto could care less. Finally, I lied and told him the squirrel was outside hoping they would both take care of business. He blustered out while she watched from the doorway. Finally, she ran outside, bit him in the head, then ran back in. He wanted to stay out, because he doesn’t care.

Eventually it stopped for a moment, and she did her business outside.

Besides tending dogs, I managed some writing today. This time it was Serang’s turn. She managed to catch a fish. This may not seem like much, but her father was a fisherman, and it means everything to her. He died when she was young, and being able to do this is very important to her. She shared the fish with some poor villagers that the soldiers took everything from.

They moved locations, which allowed me to introduce some minor fantasy creatures. Then she killed a couple of soldiers, stole their money, and fled for her life. They were some of the bad guys, and this needed to start happening.

She still isn’t completely mature, and there are some big lessons she needs to learn. She met another surviving monk and overheard the adults talking about her. Now she’s about to undertake a large journey, but she doesn’t know it yet. I’ll handle that tomorrow.

It feels like around 3000 words. I want to dwell on the next section, because I’m changing environments again. We’re leaving the cliffs, bamboo, and jungles and going to a high desert for the next portion. Serang and her master forage for a lot of their food, and I’m not quite sure what they’re going to find out there. I may just have them take it from their pursuers. In fact that sounds more adventurous.

Right now, I’m done for the day. I have some sourdough rising, and my wife is making soup when she gets home. Whatever you guys are doing, I hope it’s a good day.

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Secrets, colds, date night, and new words

I took vacation from Wednesday through Monday. This time, I didn’t tell anyone, including my wife. This is because the last time I tried to get some writing time it got pirated away. I lose the vacation hours either way, and my employer doesn’t qualify whether I was content or not.

While everyone was reading my group post about hosts willing to promote our work, I was working on new fiction.

Old What’s Her Face was off Friday, and we both woke up with colds. No idea what that was about, but we were phlegmy and both had headaches. She got over it before I did, but by mid-afternoon we both felt fine. Fine enough to go to Old Chicago for pizza and craft beer.

I slung quite a few words today, but didn’t keep score. My tale moved from a transition scene into an action scene, and those move quite a bit faster.

I’d have to consider this vacation a success already. Tomorrow I dedicate some of my morning to calling my parents, so I don’t expect much else to happen. My story is at a point where I have to think about it, and hopefully the Muse will show up for me.

I’m also off Monday, but so is my wife. This isn’t necessarily a deal killer for new fiction, but it’s usually much less than when I’m alone.

If I were to wish for anything, it would have been a couple of guests for Lisa Burton Radio. I didn’t get any takers, and don’t quite understand why. I’ll probably do a promo again, but the risk is to get over a hundred at once like the last time. (At one per week, that’s two years of applicants to get through.)

I could have done without the cold, but it’s been a pretty good vacation so far and I have two days left. Maybe I should look for some December wallpaper.

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