Tag Archives: weekend

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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Just work

I’m a fairly regular blogger. People come here to learn something interesting, have a laugh, and hang out. There are times when there just isn’t anything all that fun to post about.

Part of being a writer involves a lot of things that aren’t research, or drafting new material. It still has to get done, and that’s what this weekend was all about for me. It isn’t all robot girls and talking yaks around here.

I wrote one more micro-fiction for my Macabre Macaroni event, then assembled and scheduled all five of them. To top it all off, I did an intro post for these stories and scheduled it too. (Six posts.)

I updated this site Friday night, and then there is this post. (Seven posts.)

I also wrote, assembled, and scheduled something for Story Empire on October 1st. (Eight posts.)

I already mentioned scheduling the interview for Thursday, and the idea that Lisa needs guests once more.

On top of that, I managed to write 5000 words of new fiction. I’m a little dubious about this one, because it’s something I’ve never tried before.

It was all work. It wasn’t sexy, but it needed to get done. I’ll probably spend a bit of time looking for some good wallpaper to lead into the next month.

I hope all of you were either productive or had a good time somewhere.

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Kinda late tonight

I’ve been dabbling all night. I scratched out a shtick for Lisa Burton Radio and sent it out. Someone wanted the last July date, and there’s plenty of time to put it together. Still have some August openings if you want one.

On the way home I was accosted by a character. I dwelled on her story, and hacked out a micro piece just now. It needs some work, and kind of wants to be longer than one blog post.

I’m going to make it behave and stash it in my Macabre Macaroni folder. If I get enough of these things, I can do my October thing again this year.

I probably shouldn’t be worrying about anything other than my novel, but getting a draft out at this length doesn’t take too long. I’ve gotten the character out of my head and can start on the novel without her fictional baggage.

I have a few ideas for the next section of Lanternfish, and will probably just start writing and see where it leads me. I’ve produced some good bits this way, and just fleshing out the scenes can get me on the right track.

Old What’s Her Face went to Nevada today. It’s their annual Art in the Park event, and she wanted to go. This gives me one day to work on whatever I want.

Things are looking kind of peachy in my back yard tonight. I may have to taste test this year’s crop to see if they’re ready.

I survived the partial work week, and am looking forward to my one personal day to do whatever I want.

Hope all of you find time for yourselves this weekend too.

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Scouting ahead

It isn’t quite the weekend yet, but I have Friday off this week. It’s getting close.

Old What’s Her Face decided to go to Nevada to visit her brother this weekend. Darn it! What will I do left to my own devices?

There is writing time in my future.

I need to get through another sea battle, suffer some kind of damage, and discover something unexpected. That sounds easy enough, but it isn’t.

I want to unleash my new character, and have some lines already in mind. The tough part is balancing the new plan, the eventual success, against the losses and the bummer parts of the story.

In other words, the fun has to balance with the reality of being a pirate. It wasn’t an easy life, and I need to reflect a bit of that.

Honestly, free writing usually solves these problems for me. I know my characters and how they will react to certain things. Then it becomes a matter of timing. In other words, it’s all fun until someone needs an eyepatch. You don’t want to discover the disaster until the successes are revealed.

After that, I need to design a whole country, city, and culture. There are things I want to happen there, but don’t know if I can fit them all. It’s probably better to overwrite it and clean it up on the next pass.

If anyone is interested, I pinned some graphics to help me out. Here is the Pinterest Board.

There is a temptation to spend a lot of time in this new country. In reality, they’ll probably need ten days. If I do it right this can eat up some pages without becoming boring.

What I’m not looking forward to is naming things. I hate coming up with names. Those usually aren’t hard to change and at this phase I can come up with something and change it later.

Another struggle point is how to leave town. They can accomplish their mission covertly and sneak away, or they can screw it up and shoot their way out of the harbor.

There is a lot to be said for the latter part, but it might eliminate an option from the denouement part of the story. Maybe I can make it a really big country, leaving them an option for a happy ever after in an alternate part of the country.

Am I blowing it by talking about this stuff? Does anyone feel like I spoiled a fantasy pirate adventure by mentioning they will get a happy ever after? I kind of doubt anyone wants to read an adventure story where everyone dies and cries.

Kind of excited about this weekend. It can’t get here soon enough for me.

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Planning the weekend

Today marks the end of the longest two weeks we have at my paycheck job each year. In the last two weeks, I’ve had to put on a tie three times, make two presentations to groups, and several small ones to a political body. Prior to that it was all research, scripting, and Powerpoint stuff to get ready. But it all ends today! (Of course, I’m behind now at other work projects.)

On Tuesday morning, I received the upload copy of The Yak Guy Project from my formatter. Do you have any idea how hard it is to park on that for days that never end? Well, it’s hard for me.

Saturday is another matter. I can do my early chores, and start hammering it through Amazon. I have contacted the usual suspects and they agreed to help me with one of my home-made blog tours. There are a pile of pre-written posts in an attempt to keep them all unique. I also have some Lisa Burton art I’ve been parked on for nearly a year. I tried to contact folks in a small batch. This way, I can send them stuff and see what’s left. Then I can start a second wave and not lose track of who got what post. I used to do this all at once, and wound of losing track of things. Two waves should work… in theory.

Warning: There will be reblogs at Entertaining Stories. When people help me, it’s the least I can do to try driving them some traffic too.

I’ll send everything to my hosts after Amazon gives me the green light. After that, I need to update my sidebar to reflect the new title, deal with Goodreads, and all the peripheral stuff.

I already took the time to give the place a facelift. We have some nice fruit trees in bloom to replace the mud of Spring. Lisa’s ice sculpture of The Hat finally melted in the banner, but the yak is sticking around.

This is always an exciting time, but it kind of stresses me out. In some ways uploading to Amazon feels like putting my manuscript through a shredder. I had one bad experience many years ago and it’s stuck with me.

I can’t wait to get through this day, but the weekend will all happen in due time. I just have to remember this calming lesson:

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Procrastinating and falling forward

It wasn't quite the weekend I intended, and then it was. That's kind of cryptic, but here's how it happened.

I needed to keep the Lisa Burton Radio line moving. I'm in the habit of telling folks two weeks out when to expect their radio interview. At one week out, I send a final proof to that week's guest, assemble, and schedule the post. That was my primary goal, because folks are counting on me to get it done. Mission accomplished.

I needed to write my last micro-fiction for October, but put it off all day Saturday. I've learned, when procrastinating on these, that something isn't quite ready yet. That was the case with the last story.

The novella, called The Hat, tried to seduce me all day. I promised myself I wouldn't start it until next weekend, and staved off the craving by writing a blog piece about the Research Sirens. This was only partially fiction. Conversia, one of the sirens, wanted me to interview some folks to get the details right. I have reached out to a medical person and a musical person, and they are willing to help me. In the comments, I also got another offer of musical assistance. It's so cool to know folks who will help out. I'm willing to consult on anything I might know about too if anyone needs it.

I spent a big part of today on email, and Sharknado Five. Yeah- yeah, these films suck, but how bad they suck is part of the appeal.

Old What's Her Face, said she needed a pedicure and asked if I could watch the dogs while she was out.

“Well, of course, Honey. Whatever you want.”

While she was gone, the stars lined up for my last micro-fiction. I wanted some confusion, and I want readers to see it right away in this story. I'm doing it on purpose, and don't want readers to think I'm just an idiot when things happen out of order. Today, I was ready to put it all on paper, and did. This one made me emotional when I wrote it, and I hope that comes across.

These micros will post, one per week, during an October event I call Macabre Macaroni. Tuesday is usually a non-blogging day for me, and works perfectly for this event. This year there are five Tuesdays, so I needed five stories. I have them now.

I've adopted the philosophy that if I'm going to fall – fall forward. That's kind of how it worked, and I'm pretty pleased with my weekend effort.

I have to make a road trip to Moscow, Idaho on Wednesday. I will drive back on Thursday. I'll check in when I can, so make sure to treat Lisa's radio guest well during my drive home. I'll weigh in on the comments as soon as possible.

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Camping, mushrooms, bulldogs

We just rolled in from our first 2017 camping trip. We left mid-day friday, because setting up in the dark sucks. Here’s Otto enjoying the sunset while dad enjoys a toddy.

I should probably crop this one down and save it somewhere. He almost glows in that afternoon sun. I didn’t get good pictures of the girls. They move around a lot, and brindle colors are like camouflage in the forest.

The next morning, the weather changed. It rained almost all day Saturday. Otto decided to rest his big, heavy, head on the table while I had coffee.

The plan was to hunt morels, my favorite mushroom. I really had no idea when to go after the goofy winter we had. We went a week later last year, and were almost too late.

Campgrounds have to be booked well in advance, and we reserved our site in January. I told Old What’s Her Face, we were going come Hell or high water. Turns out high water wasn’t too far off. The Payette river is always a violent white river, but the waves were as high as the pavement as we drove by this time.

My wife was cold all day, and decided to stay at camp. It turned out later that she must have gotten some kind of bug. She was thrilled to get some down time for reading though, so that’s a win for her.

I headed out on my own, and went directly to my best spot. I admit, I was starting to have some doubts about my chances about halfway there.

Landmark summit was white with snow. My spot is down the other side, so I went there anyway. I got lucky, because it was well below the snow line.

This isn’t to say the hunting was any good. I managed very few, but in true form; find one and there is always more than one. I gathered six big ones at one point.

When you hunt morels, you walk very slowly and look down. They aren’t colorful like Easter eggs, and I’ve even found them between my feet before. This method of hunting is why I nearly stepped on an elk calf hiding in the deadfall.

Let me tell you, when you’re all alone, in bear country, and something the size of a small pony jumps up under your feet, it wakes you right up.

False, or snow morels were out in abundance. These look almost brainlike, and vary from tennis ball to softball in size. You don’t eat this kind. There are at least three in this photo, and even they are hard to spot.

I’ve had times when I could fill coolers with good morels, but it’s been a few years. This year, I managed about half of one net bag. I have enough for a couple of nice steak toppings, or a couple of outstanding omelettes, but that’s it.

I heard they were finding them by the truckload out of Idaho City. That’s where the big fires were last summer. I just like the area we went. I like camping there, I like the mountains. I can always find a few this time of year, but I may have to make a day trip to Idaho City to keep my supply up.

Mushrooms are really a mycelium that lives underground. Remember these are a fungus, and not a vegetable. The mycelium looks like a giant cobweb. To keep things simple, I’m going to call them roots.

The edible part of any mushroom is it’s reproduction attempt. It’s not a lot different than an apple in that regard. Morels have one strange habit that a hunter can take advantage of. They invest a lot of time growing in a particular piece of ground. When that ground is damaged somehow, they panic and send up more mushrooms in an attempt to reproduce as their last act on earth. I think they’re drama queens, because the underground system can be huge, and there is one honey mushroom in Oregon that’s documented as covering several counties. Still, their strange habit is a bonus for a hunter.

Fire is the big one that everyone knows about. Deadfall trees do the same thing, and that’s where I look. I’ve found them down in the root balls before, but they’re usually ten plus feet from there. Remember this root system is pretty big. Someone blades a dirt road, I look there too. A woodcutter gets stuck, or leaves deep tire ruts in the woods, same thing. I spotted this little beauty at a deadfall.

This one appears to be a yellow morel. I also found black ones, and few of the little grey fire morels. They’re all good eating, and I wasn’t picky. I mentioned my stretchy net bag a few paragraphs ago. This is me attempting to be a good steward of the resource. Mushrooms don’t have seeds, they have spores, and distributing them is the goal of the fruit. I carry a net bag in hopes that if they are dropping spores, I will leave those spores on the forest floor.

Otto and I went on a couple of big walks through the campground when I got home. He did his “bulldog ambassador to the world” routine, and met quite a few people and dogs. He absolutely loves everyone. It was fun meeting another bulldog in camp. She was white, and had on a cute little raincoat. It was raining, so I didn’t get a picture of them.

I don’t want the girls to get left out, but I didn’t get a good photo. Here is some kind of bulldog version of tug-o-war using a stick. They might call it push-o-war, since they’re backwards.

I hope all of you had a great weekend.

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