Tag Archives: Voyage of the Lanternfish

Lanternfish visits with Harmony Kent

Hi Gang. Lanternfish crossed the pond to stop at Harmony Kent’s place. The topic is the interplay between two main characters and what they bring to the story. Stop over and say hello.

Harmony is a wonderful author, and once of my partners at Story Empire. If you haven’t met her you’re missing out.

Harmony Kent

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Checking in today

Hi, Gang! The tour is going well. We’ve had some fun conversations along the way, and there are a few posts yet to come. I hope you don’t mind the reblogs. Entertaining Stories isn’t just about this blog, it’s also about publishing Entertaining Stories a couple of times per year. Publishing leads to promotion, even if that isn’t my favorite thing. If nothing else, every tour stop is unique, so it’s not a total waste of bandwidth.

The book is doing okay. Results could always be better, even when things are great. Early reviews aren’t just good, they’re downright encouraging. This will certainly help with sales. My sales usually involve a spike up front, then the slow-burn starts. This is because my regulars pick it up right away. (So grateful for my regulars.) The tour goes to sites my regulars host, but it allows me to reach their regulars, who sometimes are new to my work. That early spike got me as high as 108 in one of the fantasy categories on Amazon. It’s since dropped down, but it’s still encouraging. (Fantasy categories are a tough nut.)

One of my goals is to continually improve, and I think Lanternfish shows bits of improvement over my previous works. Reviewers will give me some hints to this.

My 2019 goal was to explore the idea of additional works in an already existing environment. I’m currently writing two different stories with that in mind. Eventually, I’ll have to park one of them and focus on the other, but I will finish both. One of these is a prequel for one of the supporting characters from Lanternfish. It seems to be taking on a different tone, and that’s because much of the “comedy relief” didn’t exist at the time of this tale. I’m pretty happy with how it’s coming out so far, even if it is more serious.

About that comedy relief, the root monsters are pretty popular. In fact, they won’t leave me alone. I formulated two new scenes for them during my commutes this week. This is how many of my stories take shape. In fact there are quite a few other scenes involving my pirate crew. There is a good chance of a sequel for Lanternfish too. I may start a storyboard this weekend.

I sent out samples of these new stories for critique, and am getting the results back. My main focus is going to be making improvements to what I’ve already written. I don’t have new fiction on my list at all. The next goal is reading. I’m jazzed to dive into End of Day, by Mae Clair. I don’t usually read sequels any more than I write them, but dang that first book was good.

Finally, I need to check the Story Empire schedule and figure out when I’m up next. I don’t want to drop the ball over there.

Doesn’t seem like much of a list for a holiday weekend. My time isn’t completely my own though. Old What’s Her Face is off too. Between the spaces, I’ll obsessively check blog comments along the tour stops. You guys know how much I like comments.

What do you have planned for your weekend? Do you make a task list, or take it as it comes?

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Miss me?

Yup, just me today. No book promo involved. The book tour is ongoing and will continue for a while.

I’m grateful for all of you that are coming along. To keep it interesting, I made every post unique. To those of you who already purchased a copy, I’m even more grateful. Even if Lanternfish isn’t your cup of tea, there are some decent posts about the inner workings about creating such a book. I’ve had a great time talking to everyone along the way.

This weekend, my wife had to work. Aside from chasing back and forth to monitor blog comments, I managed a lot of new words of fiction. It wouldn’t surprise me if I’m over ten-thousand. I didn’t break it down, because it spreads across two different projects.

When one project requires a bit of thought, I switch to the other. This is completely unlike my regular process, but it’s working.

Aside from letting Otto chase the squirrel, and Frankie chase him, that’s what I’ve been doing this weekend.

We’re off together tomorrow, so I might not get any more writing done, but I really can’t complain. I was pretty productive.

I don’t know what we’ll do, but I have a post out there somewhere to find and monitor. I’ll share it here to provide a path to those who are interested.

Such is the glamorous life of an author. We’re staying in tonight and finding something on the television.

How was your weekend?

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No new words of fiction this weekend

I spent all day Saturday sending out blog tour posts. It’s part of the author gig. If we don’t spread the word, nobody will read the books. I managed to shape eight of them up to the point of being worthy.

I sent out two more today, along with an interview. I have one more interview to respond to, but that host said I could have a week if needed. It’s hard for me to admit needing it, but I do.

Honestly, I worked a full weekend, and don’t feel like I had any time off. This isn’t a good situation, but one I must endure. The funny part is most of these posts were hacked out a month ago. I had no idea who would get each post, so I had to customize all of them depending upon which host they went to.

There will be a lot of reblogging going on here during January. This is my attempt to pay back those who hosted me. I have a decent following, and if I can bring my hosts some traffic, it’s the least I can do.

Every post is unique, so it isn’t going to be like following one of those cover and blurb tours. Some of them lend themselves to some decent conversation, and I’m looking forward to the comments. I also went with more excerpts this time. Those usually spark some interest, so why not? You can find each post by checking in here, since I’ll be reblogging.

About all we did beyond that was date night. We had a gift card that provided our pizza and beer. Even it was quick so I could go back to work.

This is all part of the glamorous author life. I’m not enamored with promotion and enjoy drafting new material much more. Still, it must be done. Maybe I’ll get back to new fiction in a couple of weeks.

You can help spread the word by visiting the posts along the way. Tweeting, sharing on Facebook, and reblogging really help, and might help my hosts too. You can also express interest in Voyage of the Lanternfish over at Goodreads and BookBub if you’re on those sites.

That’s about it for me this weekend. I’m pooped, but got a lot done. I look forward to chatting with everyone along the way.

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2019 Business Plan

I skip the whole New Years resolutions thing. If you enjoy it, have at it. What I like to do is outline my plan for the upcoming year. I’ve been known to look back at it here and there to see how I’m doing.

Last year, I pledged not to take on yet another social media platform. I signed up for Book Bub anyway. I like it as a presence for my books. It doesn’t require a lot of my time, and it gives me a nice place to post reviews of the books I read. I’ve transferred over a bunch of old reviews I wrote for people who are also there. I see they’ve done the same thing for me. Technically, there isn’t really a social aspect to it, but I put it in the same category.

Google Plus announced they are going away, and they won’t really be missed. About all I did with it was autofeed my blog there. I monkeyed with it for a few months, but never enjoyed it, or found any value.

The point is that social media has only produced minimal sales for me. I never really noticed a difference in my bottom line. Some of my author friends are even quitting Facebook now. I like the occasional Far Side cartoon, or bulldog video, so I’ll keep mine. With their advertising changing so frequently, it’s become kind of worthless for book promo.

Pinterest I really enjoy. Not for promotional purposes, but for ideas. I have images to inspire characters, paranormal art, science fiction, all kinds of things. I’ll keep my presence there, but for different reasons. It’s nice to forward a few images to my artist when I want a book cover or a new Lisa Burton poster.

Last year, I decided that my best promotional tool was to write my next book. Voyage of the Lanternfish is available as of a few hours ago. This is a pirate fantasy, with all the black magic and monsters you might expect in one of my stories.

I lost my critique group in 2016, then started relying upon beta readers. I like this process, but you have to find people who are willing to kick your butt. (Behind the scenes, of course.) In 2018, I lost my beta readers. This was devastating, but the end result was good.

I’m now part of a new critique group. While there is a difference between critique and beta, they both serve somewhat the same purpose. As a bonus, I get to hang out with a very talented bunch of people who are willing to kick my butt when I need it. (Behind the scenes, of course.)

These people have all written series, and are encouraging me to do the same. My own reading preference is for stand alone books, but I admit to enjoying a series on occasion. I understand the drill, hook them with the first one, then sell them additional stories in the same environment.

I’m still up in the air about writing stories where a previous book is a prerequisite. If I can pull it off, I would like any subsequent stories to be enjoyable even if you haven’t read the previous book. Honestly, I haven’t written a book where someone didn’t mention interest in a sequel.

Having said this, 2019 is going to be my year of the sequel, and possibly the prequel. I intend to write at least one more book in the Lanternfish environment, plus a prequel for one of the supporting characters.

In addition to all that, Lizzie and The Hat are going to make a return. The Hat is my most popular title, and I have multiple ideas that would be fun to explore. One at a time though, and with some dependence on whether the next one is popular too. The next one promises to bring back a few other old friends, and I’ve already started writing it.

That’s a big list, but I may be able to release three titles in 2019. Things would have to fall into place, but it could happen.

In a perfect world, I’d be about to start that cyberpunk novel I’ve been talking about for a couple of years. This one is intended to be a stand alone title. It went on the back-burner again, because I really need to explore the advantage of sequels.

Finances are a big concern. Book covers and promotional art are one thing, but advertising is getting expensive too. I would like to hire a promo company at least during the time around the book’s release. This is a push on multiple fronts in addition to any blog tours I might set up.

My mentality is to bounce around a lot. When I read, I change genres with every title, and I like that. When I write, I do the same thing. I’m starting to realize that many people are not like me. An author sparks their imagination with either a character or world building, and they want more. I intend to deliver some of that in 2019.

I’ve bounced around with promotions in much the same way. It all becomes somewhat like Whack-A-Mole after a while. My blog will remain my main focus, it will auto feed to other sites, but if you really want me you can find me here.

It’s all kind of calming to make these decisions. My focus will be on production of good fiction. There will be blog tours to help promote, and even some new Lisa Burton posters. I’m not going to spend time making graphics for Twitter, or figuring out how often to make Facebook posts about my stories.

I hope your 2019 is productive, positive, and enjoyable. I think mine will be too.

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Nothing quite like the terror of hitting the publish button

I got to the writing cabin early this morning. So early, Lisa was still recharging her batteries.

I wasted no time heading for my office, but Lisa intercepted me at my computer, at least her voice did.

“I need another hour of juice.” Her voice came from the speakers. “I’ve never seen you so early before. I sent a command to the coffee pot to start brewing, but you’ll have to give it twelve minutes and eighteen seconds to brew.”

Doubt, the raven, watched me with his malignant gaze. He spread his ebony wings and glided over to the desk.

I loaded my manuscript, chose some keywords, added a cover.

“Blork, pik, pik.”

I think that means how much I suck, but could not be dissuaded.

I winged it when it came to the blurb. I always do this, and really should spend a month getting it just right. For some reason, it always feels more genuine to write it on the fly.

“Ha, ha, ha. Ha, ha, ha.”

“Shut up, you stupid bird. Don’t you need to go outside and cruise for roadkill?”

Doubt paced back and forth on my desk. He swept his head from side to side, as if to say, “No, no, no.”

It didn’t matter. I uploaded the damned book. Then the waiting began. Amazon can take up to three days to approve a new book. I checked email. Nothing.

The beeper on the coffee pot went off, so I helped myself. Then checked email.

A couple of webcomics published new pages, so I read those. Then checked email.

Lisa Burton Radio. Checked email.

A new critique submission ate up a couple of hours. Checked email between each chapter.

Chatted with Story Empire compatriots. Checked email.

Lisa showed up. She looked fabulous in her oversized New Year’s sweatshirt and black tights. “Whatcha doin’?”

“Just checking email.”

“There’s an Indiana Jones film festival on. Maybe you should check it out.”

“Right after I check my email.”

She grabbed me by the arm, then walked me to the couch. She’s connected to the entire house, and the television came on without a glance. “… Goose-stepping morons like yourselves should try reading books, instead of burning them…”

“I’d better check my email.”

“Relax. It will all happen in time.” She went to tend her pet rabbit.

I pulled my hidden phone from my pocket and checked email.

It went like that pretty much all day. I exchanged a few notes about the critique, then went back to chatting with the Story Empire crowd. One of them told me they just bought my book. “ACK!!!” I still didn’t have an email.

I got the link from her, then created an Amazon global link. I did a long-planned facelift on my blog. It looks so great. Sean Harrington did an update on my banner image to keep it in theme with the new book.

Still no email from Amazon. When I dug deeper, it was in my junk folder. WHAT??? Nothing really ever goes in my junk folder, so I never thought about it, but there it was.

So (Composing myself), Lanternfish is a book. I made a new graphic for the sidebar, and you can pick up your copy by clicking on the cover. I sent out a couple of blog tour inquiries, and need to get started sending out the pre-written posts. They’re all unique, so my followers can get updated stuff at each stop. I have more people to contact, but none of this happens until Amazon sends the email.

Of course, I have to go back to work tomorrow. That puts a damper on some of this. I’m sorely tempted to take tomorrow off now. Goodreads, BookBub, and a bunch of other places need updates now.

Lanternfish is the book I wrote about all summer. It’s the one with root monsters, giant jellyfish, moving reef, and more. If pirate fantasy is your thing, I’d like to draw your attention to this one.

I have some fun posters Lisa made to help promote with, and can’t wait to share them.

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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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