Tag Archives: vacation

Ready for the work week

My last day at the office was Wednesday. I have to go back tomorrow. Admittedly, I took this time off to pay my debt as an author. This might come as a surprise to many of you readers, but it will make sense to the authors out there. I'll try to give the rest of you a glimpse into the secret club today.

I need proofreaders, critique groups, beta readers, blog hosts, and reviews to make my books a success. There isn't a kind of shop where you can go get all of that. Being self published is often a matter of supporting your hobby without going too far into the hole. The big dream is to turn a profit someday.

The truth is you can pay for many of those services, but it gets kind of expensive after a while. This is why we all tend to help each other. At a bare minimum, we are a fresh set of eyes who can spot the difference between hear and here in a manuscript. It's hard to spot these kind of things in your own work. There are also times when we know exactly what we're describing, but readers aren't getting that vision. Different eyes will raise a red flag at these points.

I take advantage of this kind of help, so it's important to provide it in turn. We don't typically share project for project. It's more like a pool of authors who will do what they can – when they can. I rarely get the same people from project to project, but in the long run – they are the same group.

Most of my time off was spent paying my authorly debts. The rest was spent on other duties, just like at the workplace. I'm proud to say I finished my last authorly project at about 1:30 today. Then I hauled off all the fruit tree branches, and declared myself done.

I feel a bit like that guy at the top of the post, but I also feel pretty darned good about it. I got to read some awesome stories, some for a review, some as a beta reader.

The good news is that my metaphorical office is clear. On my next day off I can return to my own novel. I'm kind of excited about it to tell you the truth.

I'll spend the rest of the evening catching up with most of the blogs I neglected to read. After that, it's off to bed early enough to go to my workplace all fresh and ready for work.

One of these days I'll have to take some time off for the sake of time off. It could happen, someday.

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A small chores update

Honestly, I'm starting to wear out on chores. I've been away from the paycheck job since Wednesday at quitting time, and don't have to go back until Tuesday. During that time, I've hit the chore list hard.

I'm not embarrassed to say I didn't get as much accomplished today. I managed to get my critique work done for our meeting on Thursday night. I put it in my truck, because that's my insurance policy against forgetting it when I need it.

What I didn't post about was pruning fruit trees. The sap is up now, so I stopped at about 2/3 to 3/4 of what I want to remove. After the trees adjust, I can trim the rest. They're all in a big pile in the back yard, and my son and I are hauling them to the dump tomorrow. Part of the peach tree must weigh 400 pounds, so I'm glad to have an extra back involved. This stuff takes time too, but it didn't do much to advance my author agenda.

Today, I worked on my beta reading project. I'm about 2/3 of the way finished now. If everything works out well, I may finish and deliver my notes tomorrow. (Maybe)

I also assembled and scheduled Thursday's Lisa Burton Radio. I have two other interviews out there in cyberspace, but it's Sunday night and the first guy finished became the first guy scheduled.

Honestly, I could have hit it hard and finished everything else, but I'm wearing a bit thin. I caught up with recordings of S.H.I.E.L.D., and don't regret it a bit. ABC scheduled this beyond reality for a working man, so I have to record the episodes and watch them later.

My other son and I also stayed up late every night playing Diablo III, and we had a great time. I think my wife is wearing out on us, but she's the one who surprised me with an X-Box. (So there.)

My so called vacation was a lot of work, mixed in with a bit of fun. We even worked two date nights into the mix. The good news is my path is cleared, or will be very soon, and my next day off may let me work on my novel.

Hope all of you had a Happy Easter.

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The Party’s Over

We got the camper all cleaned and put away. Some equipment is still at the house being recharged. We can put it away later, or hang onto it until the next camping weekend.

Like all Sunday's, I spent part of the morning talking to my parents. We went to the Oregon Coast together a few times, and we had plenty to talk about.

I answered a mountain of email that I let lapse, and checked on all my social media stuff.

This vacation yielded some fun short story ideas, and I wrote one out today. This one is short enough to make it as a blog post, and fits the theme of Macabre Macaroni. I will use some pictures inside this story to try something new. I think it's pretty cool, and hate waiting until October to share it. It gave me a chance to use my Apple Pencil. You know me, I always like trying new stuff.

Macabre Macaroni needs one more story, and I have some decent competing ideas. One of them is going to be too long to work as a blog post, but the other one should fit well. Having things done ahead of time is becoming a habit for me, and one that seems to work well. I can go over them during quiet times and might make them better to a degree. I won't have to stress about getting them written the night before.

Speaking of meeting deadlines, I sent off the second Experimental Notebook to the formatter. If you still have a beta copy, you don't have to finish it because it's too late to make changes. I hope you'll want to read it, and I appreciate your volunteering, but I published the deadline when I sought volunteers.

I'll try to peck away at short stories when I have a moment, my baseball stories are keeping me entertained. When I get the rare quiet Friday or Saturday, the Yak Guy is still waiting for me.

Sometime before the end of August, I need to pre-write some promotional posts. Most of these I write upon request, but it's nice to frame out a few ideas and have them “close.” It depends on whether the host wants to hear from me, or from Lisa, my assistant.

Speaking of Lisa, I don't know what to do with Lisa Burton Radio. I made it twenty-four weeks in a row, and the last post got a ton of action. Next week, Lisa doesn't have a guest again. It's kind of cheesy to keep interviewing my own characters. I may have to accept the fact that Lisa's interviews will be more sporadic. The spot has been uber popular, and I'm not retiring it. I'll just say that if you would like a character interview, drop me a note and we'll set something up. In fact, after this posts, I'm going to tweet out a half dozen of the old posts or thereabouts.

In the real world, my paycheck job beckons tomorrow. I'm sure all my mailboxes are overflowing, but I have a good staff and I'm sure they covered whatever they could.

It wasn't great that we came home a day early, but that extra day came in handy. I guess the party's over. Back to writing and back to the job that pays the bills around here.

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Safe at Home

We wound up cutting our vacation short by one day. It took so long to get to Lincoln City, that my brother-in-law wanted to break his travel into two days. He has four more hours after we got home.

I actually parked with nothing but fuel vapors left in my tank. I'm hoping I have enough left to deliver the camper about ten blocks away and get to the gas station without running completely empty.

It's kind of a bummer to cut a day off the trip, but I admit it is a marathon drive. We came back through Bend this time. I always liked Sisters and Bend, and love looking at the volcanos as we drive along.

Otto was so happy to get home that he ran crazy circles around the living room. He also ran them again in his back yard. He doesn't know it yet, but he's getting a bath today. I'll try to post another Otto video on Facebook in a few minutes.

This vacation is all about point of view. I could dwell on the blown tire, and the lost day, but choose not to.

We caught enough crab one day for a nice cookout. We got to watch whales right off the beach. On our last day we went to the big aquarium, and the giant pacific octopus was out in full view this time. If I can figure out how to resize a photo, I may make a cool jellyfish into my August wallpaper. He's just strange enough to fit in around here.

I got a great short story idea, and it fits my Macabre Macaroni theme too. I just don't know if I can make it short enough for a blog post.

The weather was great for the Oregon Coast. I thought the morning fog was awesome, and it reminded me of how I came up with the character of Jason Fogg. Jason has another story in my new Notebook, if you are a fan of his.

I even got a kick out of the early morning coffee runs with my daughter. Everyone else was asleep, and we grabbed her coffee and parked so she could catch Pokemon. I know it's a super popular game, but this one looks pretty fun.

We ate some great seafood and it seems like every place touts itself as having the best chowder. For my money, the Pelican Brewing spot in Cannon Beach does. We drank some great local beer too. I love the craft brew movement, and seeing what's local is part of the fun.

My wife and sister-in-law made an appointment with a glass blower on Thursday. They each got to blow and shape their own candy bowl. I, naturally, had to watch the dog. My daughter got some interesting videos of the process, but I can't share them. I try to keep my family somewhat anonymous online.

I'm kind of bummed about missing the glass blowing. The main character, Cobby, from The Cock of the South started life as a glass blower. I know it's backwards to call it research, but I would have liked to watch. At least there is video.

Everyone is gone now. The in-laws left at six AM. My daughter went to Sun Valley to visit friends almost immediately after we got home. Apparently, eight hours in the car wasn't enough for her. It all has the taste of, “Thanks for the free vacation, see ya!”

My wife is still asleep. Otto is sacked out on the couch, and I am barely awake. Today will be all about getting the camper cleaned up and put away. Then there are bills, mountains of bills.

With the end of the month looming, it's time to put the final touches to the second Experimental Notebook and send it to the formatter. There are still a few beta copies out, and I hope to hear from those readers in time. This is the first time I've used a formatter, and set an absolute date for publication. This means I have to live with deadlines.

I've also been a bad blog friend. I managed to read a few, but my comments were minimal. I'll spend some time today trying to catch up, but probably won't get to everyone. Sometimes you just have to go on vacation.

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Hi from the road

Internet service is pretty sketchy here. I'm trying to read blogs and do brief updates, but it isn't very cooperative.

 

Yesterday involved lots of shopping, and I volunteered to watch Otto. We hung around camp, and worked on a short story.

 

Today we went crabbing again. The license is only good for three days, and today is the last day. My brother-in-law and I found a nice dock, a six-pack of good beer (Full Sail Amber Ale) and had at it. Our view looked like this:

The ladies went shopping again. My wife bought a pretty myrtle wood cutting board. Myrtle is a cottage industry along the Oregon Coast. It's leaves can be used like bay leaves, and it even makes a nice perfume. The wood is really pretty.

Crabbing was lousy, depending on your point of view. We didn't catch anything but dungeness, which is good. The bad part was none of them were big enough to keep. There is a size limit. At one point we hauled out 14 in one ring.

This is what a crab ring looks like, with a couple of crabs in it.

Still had a great time.

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More touristy stuff

My brother-in-law had foot surgery right before our vacation. He was hurting, and it looked like we might stick around the campground. It was suggested that he might be able to rest his foot just as well if we went crabbing.

While everyone got ready, my daughter and I made a coffee and breakfast run. We pulled over at a beach that is a Poke-stop so she could collect a half dozen Pokemon before we went back to camp.

My brother-in-law and I drove through Depot Bay, and the resident pod of California Gray Whales were putting on a show. The girls all went to the outlet mall, so we called them. My daughter really wanted to spot a whale, so they drove the twenty miles to find us. They got to see them too.

We shot a ton of photos and videos, but they were all on my iPhone. That means dubious quality. I loaded one extremely short video on my Facebook page. These guys were right offshore, and in my younger days, I might have been able to throw a rock that far. We saw a lot of spouts, a few tails, and a lot of backs. That's kind of what you get with whales.

Just to prove they were there, here is one spout photo:

It really is the wrong time of year for crabbing. We knew that, but there are always a few around. We must have caught over a hundred, but they either fell under the size limit, or were females. You have to throw them back. Those limits are for Dungeness crab though, and not red rock crabs. We wound up with seven red rocks.

There isn't much meat on a red rock crab, but enough of them can make a meal. We have four adults who will eat crab. (It's my daughter, before anyone asks.) By adding a few steaks, and some salads and corn, we had a nice surf and turf under our awning last night.

Here's Otto proving we actually caught Dungeness crabs too. They were just tiny ones.

This is the same green platter as the photo from last year, but the red rock crabs are from last night's dinner.

Having a great time. Hope all of you are having a great week too.

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Tomorrow is the big day

We leave for vacation tomorrow. We’re taking a bunch of family members with us, so that will be an adventure.

Most of the day was spent hooking up campers, and making sure we have enough puppy food. We;re still getting clothes rounded up.

I did some dog watching today while the ladies went to the store. My in- laws are taking their dog along too. She’s a hundred year old Lhasa-Apso. This is her:

This is all she does. She gets carried to eat, drink, poop, etc.

She and Otto are not a good mix. He just wants to play, all the time. She isn’t much for playing.

I foresee one of those Chevy Chase Vacation moments in our future involving the dogs.

I loaded my crab ring, even though it isn’t the best time of year. We might not get any dungeness, but the red rock crabs are always around.

This is a picture from last year’s crab cookout:

Two gigantic Dungeness crabs and a pile of red rock crabs. My wife and I ate ourselves into a stupor. I don’t expect to do as well this year, but we’re trying it anyway.

I checked the tides, and the best tide of the month was yesterday. They won’t be good for clam digging the rest of this month. We haven’t caught a good clamming tide in years, due to our poor planning.

If nothing else, we may have to buy our fresh seafood, but we’ll be in a place where we can. There are also a ton of new breweries in this area, and that could be fun too.

We don’t have a plan. We don’t have a schedule. We’re just taking each day as it comes, and trying to have a good time.

I’m taking my iPad and phone with me. I’ll try to read some blogs, and might post a photo. I may even get an evening to update this blog, but I’m not making any promises.

Have fun everyone. I know I will.

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