Tag Archives: vacation

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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When you want to scream, but shouldn’t

Ahh, writing vacation-time. It sounds lovely. It has such promise to it. Time to sling words at my iPad and build something wonderful.

It didn’t work out like that, and I regret using my vacation time for this. Here’s how it came out. A writing day, for me, is never a day. It’s a matter of hours, usually in the morning. When my wife is at work, I get quality time to chip away at my projects. She’s doesn’t work dawn to dusk, however. Her shift at the hospital usually puts her home around noon. You can see how a day get’s trimmed down to six hours or so, at best.

Wednesday was my flex day. I would have gotten it off regardless of vacation time. My wife got off at 8:00 that morning. I managed 1700 new words before my house got noisy, and bulldogs went berserk over playtime, etc.

Last weekend, we got the camper winterized. The man’s first move was to look at our roof and tell us we needed to have the entire roof recaulked, and quoted us a price of $900. (Dennis Dillon RV, in case you’re keeping score.) I’ve been around a scam or two in my day, and did not bite.

When a service costs more than my house payment, I tend to dig a bit deeper. It turns out my brother had his done in Elko, Nevada, for $175. He did this, because he didn’t have time, but said it was fairly easy to do.

My first idea was to tow the sucker several hundred miles and get it done there. Elko is a ridiculously expensive place to have anything done, but at least it’s cheaper than this clown wanted.

It turns out, my brother had all the time in the world right now, so he wanted to come up and look at my camper. We made arrangements for him to come up Thursday.

My wife was off Thursday, and it wasn’t a writing day anyway. Good deal, right?

He never got here until late afternoon. We looked at the roof, and he said the skylights and vents needed to be caulked, but the rest of it was fine. However, moving into Mountain Standard Time, we were out of daylight. We dragged the camper home, and waited until morning.

Frost killed some of the momentum, because this requires a dry environment to work properly. We went to the store and bought four tubes of caulk, just in case. Turns out these weren’t cheap, and I was into it about sixty bucks.

By mid-day, we were able to remove the old sealant, and do the caulking. We weren’t cheap about laying down the beads either; however, we only used one tube of caulk.

My wife had to work Friday, but my writing day was lost. Don’t get me wrong, visiting with my brother, and just hanging out with him was wonderful. I never regret spending time with family.

After we finished, we returned the unused caulk for a refund. In other words, I spent fifteen dollars to do what Dennis Dillon RV wanted to charge me $900 for. Oh, there was pizza, beer, and other expense involved, but you get my point.

Today, he didn’t hit the road until about 10:30. We did some more visiting over coffee this time. I really enjoyed our time together… but the writing time today is a total bust too. My wife will be here soon, and that’s all she wrote.

Tomorrow, Sunday, is the day I call my parents. This destroys Sunday mornings as writing time. My wife has to work again, but it is what it is.

We’re both off Monday, for Veteran’s Day. This means no quality time for writing purposes. Six glorious days turned into a few hours Wednesday morning.

My writer’s soul wants to tear shit up and burn it to the ground. I wish I’d never wasted my vacation time on this crap. We could have visited and fiddled with the camper on the normal days I get off and it would have worked out the same.

There is always something to do at the office, and I wish I’d have just went to work. When I return on Tuesday, I’ll be behind again, but didn’t get to do what I wanted with my vacation time.

This kind of thing frequently happens to me. Life tends to throw these curveballs my way more often than not. I’ve actually gotten about four hours of writing time in the last month, and they were all last Wednesday.

This is an author’s blog, and I try to give it to you warts and all. Sometimes I’ve been know to write 10,000 new words in one day. Sometimes I get 1700 in a month. We have real lives too, and life tends to get in the way.

I’ve learned to be grateful for other things over time. I got to visit with my brother, which rarely happens. I saved $885 that I don’t have too. This week, I got what I needed. This song has become the theme of my life. Maybe you can relate to it.

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Planning and scheming

This is my flex day. I mentioned before that I work ten hour days, and get a rotating day off each week. We get the occasional three day weekend out of the deal, and this is one of mine. It also allows for a bit of manipulation if you watch the calendar. That’s what I’ve done for November.

My next flex day is Wednesday the 7th. I took vacation on the 8th and 9th. This means I’m off from the 7th through the 12th, because the 12th is a holiday. Burn 20 hours of vacation and get six days off. Not a bad deal.

This weekend is going to be all about clearing the decks. We’re taking the camper to have it winterized this afternoon. Since we got paid, we’ll probably work in date night. I can still get my Halloween tee shirt at Old Chicago if we hurry, and that’s likely where we’ll end up. Probably time to coil up the hoses and drain the water heater to keep ahead of the silt. I might even get a haircut, just to get it out of the way.

I’ll have time to work on some Lisa Burton Radio slots if anyone is interested. The recent ones have produced really well. Some of that has to do with the book being presented, but also the involvement of the author. The last few authors have shared everywhere, and are still sharing everywhere. I see the click throughs to Amazon too. Lisa could use another few guests right now.

I’ll probably keep polishing up Lanternfish this weekend.

During my vacation I want to hit it hard. There is a new story I started, and my work life just didn’t allow me time to do much with it. If I clear the decks this weekend, my vacation time is wide open to make some real progress.

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