Tag Archives: word metrics

Just checking in

I haven’t updated in a while, because so much of my life is fairly routine. It isn’t like we have date night every weekend these days. There are some things folks might relate to.

Today is a day of chores. This found me crawling around on my hands and knees in the mud, but the sprinkler system is up and running now. Then I had to climb a couple of ladders to change lightbulbs in the garage. After that, I lugged some photos and paintings up to the attic. These were permanent fixtures at my office. Since we’re getting a new location we were told to bring everything home and expect limited room at the new place. I’m afraid a stark barren cubicle is in my future.

Old What’s Her Face and I decided to put out the patio furniture while we were at it. She also learned that some old vinyl records are valuable and had me look through our attic box. Turns out some of the more valuable ones we have twice. An artifact of getting married and each having a copy.

This doesn’t mean that we’re going to do whatever version of eBay exists for old records. They’ll probably stay in the attic since we no longer own a turntable.

As for writing, I started a new project. Yesterday’s word count came to over 1700. This will be a stand alone, and I shared my start with some friends who seem to like it.

I have most of a storyboard for this one, but it’s nice to be able to drift a bit during the process. One odd thing kind of surprised me. I needed a name for my main character. I outlined her as kind of a scrawny blonde of some kind. The kind who’s strong, but not muscular.

When it came down to it, she became a Cuban-American girl. Since this is somewhat post-apocalyptic, I don’t need to bleed a lot of Cuban culture into it. She’s a formerly American girl with an Hispanic look to her.

I’m glad my friends liked the start, because it will probably come out a bit darker and grittier than my usual fare. I’ve already killed two innocents in the first 1700 words.

I am a firm believer in light moments, and have a couple of animal characters I’m counting on to bring a bit of charm. Also, to make it one of my stories, I’m going to include a little magic. Since the setting is the former American South, it will be a bit of Voodoo.

This also marks a return to first person point of view for me. I love it for Will O’ the Wisp, and I’ve used it for several short stories, most notably about Jason Fogg. I think this will come across better as first person since much of the time Mari will be alone.

I have a tile I really like, because it pays homage to an old film favorite. I also have a mental block against it, because Once Upon a Time, seems to indicate something from the past. Granted it will be from Mari White’s past, and not necessarily our past. (Mariposa Rivas-White)

The working title is Once Upon a Time in the Swamp. I’d love to know what you guys think about this. I know titles don’t seem all that important during the drafting phase, but they really help me while writing.

I’m the guy who still needs a title for my space trilogy, and have two more volumes to figure that out. If you happen to be online today or tomorrow, I’d like to know what you think of my working title.

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From weird to productive

Today is my flex day, and I started off with no idea how it was going to go.

I’ve had 1.1 hours of comp time on the books for a couple of years now, so I decided to simply waste it and come home early last night. It was one of the best things I ever did. For some reason, I was wiped out going into the afternoon.

When I got home, I crawled into bed, freezing, and slept for over two hours. Old What’s Her Face even played ball with the dogs, and I didn’t stir. She said they tried bringing me their toys and I never woke up. She had to shake me to come to supper.

I wound up sleeping around eleven hours last night, and only woke up when Otto decided he was hungry. For whatever reason, I feel great today.

I wasn’t feeling particularly creative, but I wrote anyway. That’s what I have to do with sporadic times available to me. I snuck back in. Meaning I backed up a couple of chapters to do some light edits and get back into it.

Percy was in the process of blowing crap up, and that made it easier. I didn’t plan it that way, but it was a fortunate accident.

I finished the adventure part, then moved into the assessment phase. There’s really only a couple of things left to do before book one is finished.

This will leave me with a decision to make. I could write another Hat story, but I already have one in the can. It’s probably a better move to write something completely different. It would be a bit more grim than I’ve written lately, and a stand alone tale.

The word count came to almost exactly 2000 today, so I’m pretty pleased with it.

In other news, my peach tree is in full bloom. Earlier this week it would have made a great picture covered with snow and ice, but the overcast skies didn’t make for good photography. I snapped a quick one, then updated my background. I also changed my header for a different look. It’s Springtime now, so it was time to give the old blog a facelift.

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Word count and future ideas

I closed my iPad, then leaned back in my lounge chair. “That’s a wrap for today, folks.”

Lisa Burton, my robot assistant picked the twin ponytails from her hair. “Back to more Cicis tomorrow?”

“Probably.”

“You really need to get these girls some better clothes.”

“I did, but they tend to wear jumpsuits while they’re on the ship. We’re deep into the mission right now.”

Percy, the Space Chimp, perked up. “Not bad, dude. I’m finally in the shuttle and weapons are hot. I’m expecting to kick some major ass tomorrow.”

“Me, too. We’re nearly finished. You have two adventures left in this book and I should easily break eighty-thousand words.”

“Could be a lot bigger for science fiction.”

“True, but in this era people seem to like something shorter if it isn’t going to wrap in one book.”

“And we have three coming.”

“We’ll see. My first trilogy was popular until the final volume. Nobody wanted root monsters and Kung Fu after book two.”

He bolted upright on the couch. “Dude, don’t do that to me. I planned on three volumes.”

“That’s still the goal, but I might not release any of them until they’re completely finished. A tighter release schedule might help. It was a good day at 2800 words.”

“And, tomorrow we’re blowing the crap out of things?”

“That’s the plan. I gotta tell you, I’m thinking about starting something different.”

“Don’t do that. We’ve got what it takes.”

“I think so, too. I can always start another hat story. You were backup, then moved into primary position. I feel the need for a new secondary story. There are some stand alone ones I could write. There’s the revenge story that takes place in a post-apocalyptic swamp. One that’s an African adventure that still needs some black magic ideas. I even have one about Dash Goodman going on his quest to become a full member of the coven. It will involve a Native American girl and some of her lore, a stolen PBY floatplane, and summoning a fun familiar for him that I dreamed up.”

“Nobody wants to read that crap. A talking Space Chimp with a Human girlfriend working as a spy is what they want.”

“Relax. I still need Dash to be an apprentice for a few more years. What do you think about Dash Goodman & the Last of the Lava Men, or Mud Men, or something?”

“I think it sounds stupid. I could steal a ship and save you from writing it. Show you some real adventure, too.”

“There’s also the Detroit story. Tons of abandoned homes and two kids playing Indianna Jones stumble across something more serious.”

“We could go back to the fleet graveyard and find some antiquated garbage, too.”

“Calm down. We’ll work together tomorrow. Dash Goodman needs a serious outline to chase a McGuffin, and so does the Detroit thingie.

“I won’t let you down. I promise.”

“I wonder how I’d look as an Indian Princess?” Lisa asked.

“Probably too blonde, and it’s going to be a modern setting. She’s Salish, so I’d need to do some research before I could start. Feels like something two or three years down the line.”

“Will we be done by then?” Percy asked.

“I think so. I still have to weave other things into my schedule. Sometimes I work better with a side project. I’m just warning you it could happen.”

“Good talk, but let’s see where tomorrow takes us. Maybe you’ll get so fired up you don’t want a side story.”

“Maybe, but I wouldn’t count on it.”

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Buncha Random Stuff

I was going to write this like a Writing Cabin post, but there’s more to it than that allows.

I don’t often talk about it, but the way I work involves planning out multiple stories in my head, sometimes years before I can start writing them. When I surf the Internet, it’s usually with a purpose. Sometimes I add things to my Pinterest boards that I won’t need for years. If you look at The Hat board you’ll see things that haven’t been in any of the books, but will be at some point.

I was searching for a magical virus or something with the idea of providing a bit of humor to a future Hat story. One of the characters who gets introduced in Good Liniment is somewhat destined to become Lizzie’s friend. She’s a younger witch with plant based magic named Joyeux.

Randomly thinking it might be fun for Lizzie to come down with something stupid that Joyeux has to help her with. No plot, nothing that major. Then I stumbled upon something called Jumping Frenchmen of Maine. It’s a real disorder from the 1800s. I have a story roughed out involving St. Vitus’ Dance, and while this isn’t the same thing, it’s close enough to explain a magical antagonist’s arrival in North America. I might not ever write that story, but it was an interesting discovery.

PS: Do enough people know what a dibble is for me to make it a magical artifact from Joyeux’s past? Would I have to explain it with some depth?

Other than that, I added about 1200 to the nameless space trilogy. I had to physically weave between the boxes that have invaded the only private space I have, but it feels productive. It’s like writing inside a kid’s blanket fort in here.

I have a major concern about these words. Percy and Buffer have a shared history. They’ve been together since before the story opened as veterans who served aboard the same ship. They’re both disabled veterans now, and helped each other through the rough times.

I’ve done pretty well at keeping the situation flirty between them. Made simple enough because she’s a human and he’s a Space Chimp. Today, they put all their cards on the table and this poses multiple problems for me.

First, I’m not a romance author. I don’t seem to have that gene, but these aren’t romantic characters either. Am I crazy for even attempting this?

Second, I did this at 70,000 words. It’s not insta-love, but is it too soon if I can make this a trilogy? Would I be better served milking it until the last volume? It accomplishes a major step toward Percy’s evolution or character arc.

I also set this up with some backstory of how they became disabled veterans in the first place. I know we’re all supposed to hate backstory, but it feels really good where I plopped it. It’s an interesting tale, and it’s not in chapter one. It’s at 70K. I don’t feel bad about it at all here.

I need to come up with something new for Story Empire. Now that my Easter Egg post is live, it won’t take long for my turn to come around again. I have something roughed out, but I’m not sure I like it. What I really need is another series of some kind, like the one I posted about the Hero’s Journey. Maybe I can edit what I have into something presentable.

I’ll probably make a couple of editing passes on the nameless story, and look over the future SE post the same way.

I really need to come up with a title, but I want something reflective across the broader trilogy. I would like something like “Of X & Y,” where X & Y are variables across all three books. “Of Clay Pots & Clones” doesn’t quite sound right to me. Is that a catchy title for the first book? I’m at a loss here. “Of Spies & Clones” ??? One of you authors or big-time readers let me know if you would check the blurb on a title like this. The cover art will sell it as science fiction.

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Odd Word Metrics

I spent my morning trying to write promotional materials for the eventual release of Good Liniment.

It’s not the same as new fiction, but I got five posts roughed out. It probably doesn’t reach 2500 new words, but it’s fairly close. To finish them, I would need a blurb and some links. Those details will come later.

I ordered three new Lisa Burton posters for this release, and they came out wonderful. Sean Harrington really outdid himself on them, and they reflect items from the story. That made posts where she visits someone fairly easy to write.

I should have about that many more before I’m ready, then I need to figure out where I want to take this tour. I’ve done so many of these over the years they can be kind of tiring. I’m excited about the story, but not about promo. Probably a flaw in my personality.

Don’t get me wrong, I like the comments and responding, it just doesn’t work as well during the work week. I’m even considering some vacation time so I can be present in the moment, but work is too crazy right now.

I might even get a couple more written tonight, but I’m not committed to the idea.

This is the spot where I would usually insert a musical teaser for one of The Hat books. I try to hold back the posters for my hosts, but can’t resist sharing one today. They came out so good this time.

Lisa is taking Noodles for a walk in this picture. If you’d like to learn more about Noodles, you’ll have to come along when the tour starts, or even read the book. It’s coming soon, I promise.

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Sometimes you get rained out

I don’t know why I started this with an old baseball reference, but there you have it. I didn’t accomplish a whole lot this weekend.

I finished the MS for The Midnight Rambler, but it needs something I just can’t put my finger on. I came to that conclusion because it’s shorter than other stories about Lizzie and the hat. Another 4000 words would give it a similar length. I made an editing pass and deleted even more words.

This one has a lot of loose ends to wrap up. I did this with short sections, using either section breaks or artwork panels. (This is the series with silly graphics included.) The end feels like chunk, chunk, chunk. I need a better idea of how to wrap this one, and it might even add a few words if I’m lucky. Time might bring me a few better answers.

I read a couple of short novels and posted reviews across all three platforms. I enjoyed this part of my weekend.

Old What’s Her Face and I made a trip to Home Depot, then used a Christmas gift card to go to dinner. Date night was fun, but I ate way too much. Restaurants seem to either deliver postage stamp sized entrees, or pile the plate to overflowing.

No idea what to do over the holiday tomorrow. I want to work on Midnight Rambler, but know it should rest for a bit. I could jump back to my unnamed space opera. If I do this, it will probably involve reading what I already have to make sure I set the next stage.

It was a fairly unproductive weekend, and I don’t really care. Wish I had more news to deliver to everyone. The last couple of years have been kind of brutal, and if my personal life slows down a little, that’s okay.

I hope all of you had great weekends, whether you were relaxing or trying to be productive. I’m going to take 2022 as it comes.

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Writing Saturday

I looked up from my iPad after the day’s work was finished. “3000 words, not too shabby.”

Percy the Space Chimp poured another cup of Huloran tea. “I don’t know, dude. You spent an awful lot of time playing dress up Barbies.”

“I’m worried about it, too. Think of it this way, the Cicis are identical. Having two-dozen of them wandering around the resort was bound to draw attention. I had some dress up, and some dress down. They visited hair salons and such to differentiate themselves from their sisters.”

“Lotta words dedicated to that, and why the rest of us?”

“I have to think on the trilogy level. I have words at my disposal, and there could be a plant and payoff type lesson in there somewhere. Disguise might come back with a huge upgrade. As far as the rest of you, Leo was wearing cast away stuff that belonged to you and the Cicis after you burned all his clothes in an earlier section.”

“There was nothing wrong with my shirt.”

“Nothing at all, if you’re a Space Chimp, but Leo isn’t. None of it fit right.”

“Plopping us in a resort city to go shopping doesn’t feel like a space opera.”

“You know why you were there, and it wasn’t shopping. You have the spy photos, the good guys want them, and that’s where they wanted to meet.”

“Why did Buffer wind up with Lisa’s vest thingie?”

Lisa stood and twirled. “Cute, huh?” Her vest extended into skirts alongside her thighs, and long tails in back. The buttons around her waist enhanced her figure.

“That’s how it works sometimes. Lisa has a great outfit, and I wrote it into the story. It might move in the wind or action scenes like a superhero outfit.” I turned to her. “This tea is wonderful.”

“Science Fiction Amazon seems to have everything. I can get you a six-pack of lightsabers if you like.”

“No. That was someone else’s story.”

Percy snorted. “At the end of the day, we didn’t sell our photos, and we didn’t get paid. It’s another wild goose chase.”

“True, but now you’re going to the secret scientific spy city.”

“That sounds more promising.”

“Hope so. I was going to call it the Skunk Works, but that’s a real place. Rat Works seems to have been adopted by a company. What do you think of the Snake Works?”

“Does it really matter?”

“Yes. I want it to be a city readers will remember. A place to explore and dwell on. I have some cool new characters at that location.”

“Great… even more to share page time with. And what’s with me ping-ponging between paranoia and trust lately?”

“It’s the life of a spy. You’re paranoid about everything, but Buffer is helping you see that trust is part of the mix, too. Both have their uses in this line of work. I need to come up with a name for the guy who runs the place. He’s going to be helpful to your career. Then I finally get to use Ray Dongas.”

“What’s his deal?”

“I decided the story needs one of my batshit crazy characters. I was reading about Radon Gas one day and the name just came to me.”

“What’s his deal?”

“He runs the warehouse district at The Snakeworks. Okay, it’s more like he rules it like a minor kingdom. He’s going to be, let’s call it colorful. He’s got to be some kind of alien, and might be a good guy to make friends with.”

“You haven’t let me make many friends, so far.”

“You’re a little bit prickly, sweetie,” Lisa said. “Maybe this is one of those times to trust. Trust your author.”

Percy pushed his cup away. “Got anything stronger?”

“There’s some WhistlePig Rye in the kitchen.”

“Guess I’ll have to trust that, too.” He made air quotes around the word.

Lisa got up to fetch the whiskey. “You know, Craig, you’re going to have a Ray in this series, but you’ve also written a Ray into the hat series. Are you worried about that?”

“Crap! I hadn’t thought about that.”

“Ha haha!” Percy pointed at me. “Looks like it’s your turn to be paranoid, dude.”

“Better bring a glass for me, too.”

***

I still need to come up with a new post for my next Story Empire slot. I’m not coming up with much. All I have now is something about the interpreter character, so that’s pretty thin. There are a few weeks left, so I might come up with something this weekend. Hope all of you are getting to do whatever you like for a couple of days.

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It’s a flex day

I folded up my iPad, then stared across my desk at the writing cabin.

Percy the Space Chimp lay on the couch. “Dude? Why’d you stop?”

“I think I’m done for the day.”

“Come on. Last time we knocked it out of the park.”

“Not all days are like that.”

“You didn’t even get a whole chapter written.”

“Nope. Twelve-hundred words approximately. These transitions are getting tougher. Your ship moves around the galaxy, and the crew can do fun things while travelling, but I have to keep them fun. I’ve already explored the ship and explained some things, like science fiction has a habit of doing. I can’t keep explaining it.”

“I like the action bits better.”

“You would, but these are the sections that make fans love you. You and Leo had a big victory in the early parts.”

“Yeah, but the ladies punished us for it.”

“Don’t you think that makes sense?”

Lisa Burton, my robot assistant arrived wearing a silver bodysuit. She placed out some tea. “I noticed you logged off.”

“What are you wearing?” I asked.

“You’re into science fiction right now. Maybe robot girls wear this in space. I noticed you were writing about tea, so I brought you some. I don’t have Huloran tea, like in your book, but this can substitute. I’ll check the science fiction version of Amazon to see if I can get the real thing for your next session.”

Percy slid over to make room. “Leo and I downloaded some magazines and stuff, and now your author friend thinks we should be punished for it.”

“It isn’t the content, it’s the way you went about it. Things like spacewalks are dangerous and you didn’t share your plan with the others. I don’t know what you’re whining about. I kept getting tazed or magnetized in my stories. Besides, the girls gave you your precious comic books eventually.”

I sampled the tea, then leaned back in my chair. “I know the next half-dozen big events that are going to happen. Getting between the places takes more thought the way I work. Eventually, Leo is going to piece together a mystery you didn’t even know was there.”

“Why Leo? I mean, the dude’s a good friend, but I’m the one here helping you.”

“Because you’ve kind of become the main character. Leo needs a win, and it helps his character grow. I need to let the others shine a bit, too. Auburn fixed up that robot and he proved helpful. The Cici’s helped with those gangsters, and their hive mind is fun to write. I still need something big for Buffer. She hasn’t done much since she killed that guy back on Denmouth.”

“That was an accident. I’ll testify to that.”

“Relax. She has some abilities I haven’t explored yet, and deserves some sections devoted to her. Right now she’s kind of a broken toy.”

“Aren’t we all?”

“Yeah, but that’s the point. You come together in a kind of pseudo-family. I’d like to dwell on Buffer for a few days before you land the ship again. If this is going to reach trilogy length, you’re probably going to have to help me for a couple of years.”

Lisa leaned forward. “I think we should talk about your robots. I mean, they all look like robots.”

“Yeah, shouldn’t they?”

She pointed to herself. “Hello!”

“No. This isn’t a story about you trying to fit in. Besides, there’s no way I can get you out there without breaking all the canon of the stories you’ve already been in. I’m sure we’ll have you pose for some promotional posters and send you on a tour eventually.”

“What about the Hat stories? I could pop back into one of those.”

Percy sloshed his tea. “Don’t remind him. He’ll jump projects again, and where does that leave me?”

“You need to calm down, or I’ll give you a case of mange in the next chapter.”

“It’s just frustrating. That’s all.”

“Low word count frustrates me, too. After all these years, I’ve come to accept it.”

***

That was my flex day. I appreciate those banner days when they happen, but they’re the exception. Today didn’t amount to much, but I moved the story along.

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A three day weekend

It all started off knowing we had company coming for the weekend. I planned on not writing a single word. My in-laws brought their German Shorthair puppy with them.

Jagger is cute, but he’s not a tiny puppy any more. He’s big, but still thinks he’s a puppy. He never stops moving. He’s up, he’s down, he’s here, he’s there. He jumps up, makes you spill things, and even tries to pull things off the wall.

Call me crazy, but I kind of like him. The place was a madhouse, but if the bulldogs can handle it, so can I.

We went to dinner one night, but it was pretty mediocre compared to most of the places we go. We also watched movies. Friday night, I chose one called “Don’t Look Up.” I loved it. It’s full of dark snarky humor about the world we live in during a natural disaster. It has a top shelf cast, too.

My brother-in-law wanted to watch “The Last Duel,” Saturday night. I suggest you don’t waste your time. It has some moments, but I just didn’t feel it. Some of this has to do with the way the story unfolded. Open en media res, then tell the same story three different times from three points of view to get back to where we opened.

Old What’s Her Face had to go in at midnight last night. My MO on these nights is to stay up so she can sleep as much as possible. I started “The Eternals” before she turned in, then turned the television off after the film ended.

It wasn’t horrible, but I expected more from that cast. It was also hard to get over the “gotta catch ’em all” mentality. It was so inclusive that it felt like Marvel was shoving it down my throat.

After the movie, I had hours left with nothing to do. I opened my space opera and started reviewing. I’d worked myself to a point that I have to describe so some of you will get the problem.

I can’t make this tale into Lanternfish in space. There’s no piracy, and staying away from everyone is part of this spy mission. That means, I’ve milked space travel about as much as I can between the locations. In Lanternfish I could toss in a sea monster or a pirate battle. Space is big and empty.

My crew was at the turning point, but getting them from point to point had be minimized to a degree. I’d been stewing over this for weeks, but finally just wrote it. I like the way it turned out, and they discovered a much bigger problem than their tiny lives would have cared about.

I even moved on to how they’re going to deliver the news about what they discovered, because they invaded enemy territory to find this out. They had to shoot their way out, so it’s really an act of war. Except, they aren’t officially with any government. That won’t stop the bad guys from putting their propaganda department on it and making the good side look like the aggressors.

What I’m liking is all the problems my crew created while trying to do something both good and profitable. They may have to answer for some things now. That’s good tension, and I can use it as I move on. They could even have some enemies among the good guys.

I have a large section ahead where a kind of mentor can give them some focus and possibly put them to more productive work. They have a unique ship like nothing else in the galaxy. It could be used for more covert missions, but it’s in private ownership because of the laws of salvage.

This ship was simply missing for a hundred years, and was a relic of a previous war. My people found it and put it to good use. It’s theirs. My as-yet-to-appear mentor is a different kind of creature, and was present for this ship’s creation. He’s going to have some sympathy for my main characters.

Anything involving answering for crimes, the mentor, and what value their information might have is something for another writing session.

I failed to keep track, but it feels like about 8000 words to me. It was a great session. This particular tale is at 44K words right now. It’s a concern making word count without some things happening between locations, but I’m working on it.

Not too bad for a bonus I didn’t expect. Hope all of you had great weekends, too.

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Return to the Writing Cabin

I got an early start today, and flew to the writing cabin in the dark. It’s been snowing like crazy in Idaho, but we have a lull today. It’s the first of six days off I have, and intend to make the pixels fly.

Snow covered the landing strip, but I managed without too much of a problem.

Lisa my robotic assistant met me at the back door. “Glad you made it. What are we working on today?”

“I looked at her ‘Lizzie and the Pythons’ tee shirt. “Cute, but it looks like you already know.”

“I knew you’ve been dabbling from home, and took a WAG.”

“Good guess. Let’s get started.”

“There are some people in your paranormal office.”

I wound my way inside to find a chimpanzee in a space suit, sitting beside a man whose head had been replaced by a flaming jack o’ lantern.

The pumpkin guy wore a black tuxedo. “I know I’m going to finish my part today, but I could wear other outfits, maybe cover some different roles in the story.”

“Make sure Lisa has your contact information. I may need a cop with a pumpkin head later on. Can you change your head out? It should look a little different.”

“They can do it down at the union hall. Thanks for your consideration.”

The chimp spoke up. “What about me, dude. You’ve left us floating in the yellow zone for a month.”

“That’s not completely true. You passed through the yellow zone and are floating in enemy territory. You guys were always a side project for when I run into rough patches. The Midnight Rambler will hit one, then I’ll move you to your spy project.”

“When might that be?”

“I have a nice stretch of writing time. Might be in the next few days. Besides, you’re earmarked for a trilogy, so chew on that.”

“Lucky monkey,” the pumpkin head said.

“Don’t call me a monkey. I’m a Space Chimp. An ape, not a monkey.”

“Calm down. I need to finish up with him today, then Lisa can cashier him and send him home.”

“And then it’s back to the space opera?”

“Maybe. I have a couple of gods I need to work with. Twins from the Gemini constellation.”

“I’ll see your twins and raise you twenty-six identical clone chicks.”

“How did I get stuck with you, anyway. The Cicis are hot.”

“All Humans seem to feel that way, but I couldn’t care less. I think it’s because I’m becoming the main character right now.”

“Be a good… Chimp, and let me work on Midnight Rambler. I need three complimentary titles for your trilogy. Work on that. I’m thinking of ones that read, ‘Of X andY,’ where the variables change per volume in the series.”

“Fine.”

“And can you do it in the other office? This is where paranormal stuff happens.” I settled in to work, and it turned into a banner day. It came to around six-thousand words on Midnight Rambler.

It’s kind of dialog heavy, but The Hat books always seem that way. Still, there was some good stuff happening. Lizzie might have found a boyfriend, we drove a magical car, and a major storm event is keeping her from any real success. Then there was a major shootout at Eat The Worm, one of the Pythons’ main venues.

Lizzie’s boyfriend needs life sustaining drugs, and the only person who can make them is missing. Boyfriend is on a clock now, and the storm isn’t helping.

That’s where I decided to call it a day. I picked up the Space Chimp and we walked into the lobby.

Lisa counted out cash for the pumpkin head. “I love your tux.”

“Thanks, your author gave it to me. I love your tee.”

“I had to steal it. I’m not in this story, but one of my old calendars is.”

“Do you get a residual for that?”

Lisa glared at me. “Doesn’t look that way.”

“Bummer. If you need me again, just call.”

The extra left, then Lisa turned to us. “What happens next?”

“I’m going home. This is Percy, and you can hang out with him.”

“He’s been here a week. I know his name. We finished the originals, do you want to start on the remake Planet of the Apes movies?”

“Eh, why not. Gives us something to do while the mighty author plays with his paranormal stories.”

I’ll make you some popcorn.”

***

That was my day. We’ve had so many leftovers from Christmas, but we’re finally getting down to the end. Turns out goat cheese dip makes for a fair lunch, and chocolate eggnog is good in coffee. I’ll take up the keyboard tomorrow, but Percy is likely to be disappointed for a few more days.

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