Tag Archives: work

Situation normal…

I had three days off this weekend, but didn’t accomplish a damned thing. My wife and dog are both on the mend.

We went out for necessities yesterday. The shopping cart makes a pretty good walker as I learned when my back went out. We avoided the fair, because it would have been too much.

I even offered to pick up groceries, but my wife was having none of it. I told her I know how to buy bread, milk, etc. She worried that I would get the wrong bread. Seriously, how bad could it be no matter what I chose? Let’s face it, what we do with toilet paper shouldn’t matter what pretty design it has for one week.

One good thing about accompanying her, and it makes everything right with the world.

The pumpkin beer is here. With this stuff, I can put up with a lot. Shopping makes for a weird date night, but it is what we did.

Tonight I have to drive to Twin Falls and check into a room. I have a presentation to make for work at just after dawn. I can’t risk trying to get there at four AM, then make my appointment. This will take most of the day, but I’ll probably still get to the office in the afternoon.

I’m taking my iPad with me. If I get a few free hours tonight, I might add words to the next Lanternfish story.

Advertisements

28 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

So it begins

He stares at me through obsidian black eyes. Eyes as black as his heart.

How I allowed this creature to live in my writing cabin is beyond me. My sanctuary. My place of creativity and fun, invaded by a malignant presence of his kind. Stealing my joy, causing me to hate my own stories.

His name is Doubt, and he seems to show up about this phase of every book.

He sets his wings and glides to my desk

I opened the Serang manuscript and started my word searches. My critique partners made sure I cleaned up all my stupid errors. Doubt paced back and forth across the desktop, knowing, waiting.

It wasn’t until I got to its/it’s and started finding mistakes, then he croaked out his evil laughter.

What made me think I could be an author?

***

“Hey! You are an author.” Lisa entered the room. She wore a pencil skirt with blouse and jacket. “This happens to you with every story. I don’t know why you let him get to you like that.”

“I start out with such good intentions. The story is fresh and exciting. I’m into it with new characters, settings, problems to solve, even enemies to face. It’s even exciting to reach the end. Then I get to this phase, and it all seems to suck so bad.”

“That’s because you’ve mentally finished the story. You’ve carved something from raw stone, and you’re proud of it. Then you realize a bit of sandpaper and polish would make it so much better.”

“But, I thought it was beautiful.”

“It is, but it isn’t finished until you polish it up a little. It’s like using makeup.”

“I don’t use makeup.”

“It’s an analogy. You write them all the time, so you ought to be able to follow one. Your blog is like lounging around the house and watching TV, maybe picking up some sticks in the yard. It’s you, and you have a casual vibe going on. A book is like going out for a big evening. You want your hair, nails, and makeup right. Maybe you spring for a new dress, which is like your cover art.”

“Okay. I think I’ve got it.”

“You may not like the work that goes into it, but you’re going to like the reception when you finally get to the party.”

“So if I want my book to go to the party, I need to put the work in so it looks and performs its best?”

“Bingo!”

“Okay, I’ll do the work… and he still sucks.” I pointed at the raven.

“He’s a bird. You’re putting your own emotional baggage onto him.”

“He wears it well, though.”

“Basic black is always in style.”

“Maybe I should take a lunch break.”

“Nope. You’re looking for any reason to put this off. I’ll make you a sandwich and bring you some of those new M & Ms you liked. The sooner you get Serang ready, the sooner you can get to the new story I’m in. I’d feel a lot better if you got that far before I have to leave to pose for all the promotional artwork.”

“Fine! And bring something for the raven. It’s rude to eat in front of him without offering him something.”

54 Comments

Filed under Muse

It starts with a blog post

It doesn’t look like there’s going to be any new fiction from my keyboard this weekend. This is because I have a lot of blog commitments right now. It only seemed appropriate to start off with a blog post too. Make no mistake, this post also helps me organize my work plan so I can keep track of it all.

I have to work up one of Lisa’s shticks and send it to the author. We go back and forth on the interviews, and I need to serve it her direction.

I don’t want to saddle a guest with the week between holidays, so I’ll probably make a Lisa Burton Radio slot about my own works to hold the spot. I have books too, so why not?

This is the time of year to write a couple of posts that have proven popular over the years. The first one is a year end assessment. It’s a thought about what worked, and what didn’t during 2018.

The other one is a 2019 business plan. I usually write these in my word processor so I can dwell on them and spend a couple of days before I schedule them.

I have two posts coming up over at Story Empire, so of course, I haven’t even thought about them. One is Christmas Eve, so I might get by with some well wishes and such. I can probably cobble together a conclusion to the series I started about writing small, medium, and large for the other one.

I probably ought to do a Christmas post over here too. I have a couple of old Lisa Burton Christmas posters and might recycle one of those.

All told, there’s a whole lotta blogging goin’ on. It’s a short weekend for me, and that’s about all I can manage.

25 Comments

Filed under Blogging

Presto!

Today was my day to get some things done. I screwed that up before I even got home last night. I was supposed to pick up medications for Otto, one of our dogs. This is about two blocks from where I work. I failed to do this. Let’s face it, at the end of shift you have hundreds of reps involving getting in the truck and going home.

This meant that I had to go back downtown this morning and pick up his pills. It took me an hour and a half. It’s a forty mile round trip, plus the time inside the vet’s office. It kind of killed any forward momentum I may have had.

My wife wanted to go to pizza tonight, and our daughter decided to drive over from Sun Valley to go with us. Sounds nice, right? The hospital called my wife back in, so we had to cancel the whole thing. She has to work until eight o’clock tonight. I feel bad that our daughter drove all the way over here for nothing.

I don’t know what some employers are thinking. They are cutting everyone’s hours due to what they call “low census.” I won’t go into a deep explanation, the main point is reduced hours.

When there is a problem, they seem shocked that people don’t want to drop everything and pull extra hours now. “Gasp!” I’ve learned over the years that happy employees will do anything. Unhappy employees will place you lower on the priority list.

I got a decent small visit with my daughter after Old What’s Her Face went back to work. Everyone is gone now, but it’s time for baseball.

Today, I had low expectations and failed to meet them all. Things can change fast, so I’m just going to go with it. Tomorrow will be partially about packing and getting ready for my flight. I’ll be in Texas next week, but I’ll take my iPad with me. At least I can keep up with blogs and such.

I’m looking forward to the trip. There are times in life where the author in me has to take a back seat. Perhaps I can get some forward momentum when I return. If not, I have vacation coming around the Veteran’s Day holiday.

47 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Happy Wednesday

I’ve been slacking off on the blog, because I’ve been doing a lot of things that don’t relate to the author’s life. When I do, they aren’t the sexy things. One of the things I’ve always done is share this life – warts and all, so that’s what today is about.

I spent the last week in a trade conference for my paycheck job. There weren’t a lot of extra hours available. Next week, I’m going to Texas for a conference that is more directly related to what I do. All part of the job.

This week was my week to catch up… except… we scheduled job interviews. This is because all of us on the interview team have been in and out for a month. The other two members are tied up for the next two weeks.

There is an outside chance that I can make some real progress on Friday, so I have my fingers crossed.

On the writing front, this was my flex day, and I spent it working on the stuff nobody ever talks about. It’s part of the writing life, and it has to get done too.

I wrote a post for Story Empire that will go live next week. I also assembled and scheduled a Lisa Burton Radio interview. I mention this, because this stuff takes time. It has value, so I forge ahead. It has value to me, and it helps other authors too. If you haven’t checked out Story Empire, you might want to cruise over. There is a wealth of information authors can take advantage of.

I dedicated a big part of this morning to finishing up a book I’ve been reading. I fiddled around with this for far too long, and I needed to finish it. I even resorted to reading one chapter on my 30 minute lunch breaks. At least I got four chapters per week that way. It was a wonderful story, and I gave the author a five star review on three different sites.

Time. It’s all about time, which seems to be in short supply these days.

I like to read on airplanes, but I like to find things I don’t necessarily have to finish. This time, I have a couple of craft books saved that I might dive into. Other flight, I’ve chosen short story collections, or even novellae, because I can finish them. (I made that word up, but novellae seems like it should be right.)

On Tuesday, I got another Lisa Burton poster via email. (It looks really cool too.) That means I have the Lanternfish cover, plus two promotional posters. I ordered the last one, and it looks like I’ll be able to meet my winter publication deadline pretty easily.

To round out my day off, I worked through nine chapters of Lanternfish. I found a few things to correct, even though this is about my third pass. Good news is that I’m really enjoying the story still. I think that bodes well for my future readers.

I nearly wrote that I worked through nine innings of my book. Can you tell I’ve been watching the baseball playoffs? I don’t have a dog in this fight, but the games have been very good. (I’m not cheering for any specific team, but I’m glad the National League will go back to Front Row Amy’s ballpark.) There’s one on right now, and I’d better get back to it.

18 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized, Writing

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.

36 Comments

Filed under Blogging, Writing

Home cookin, and my own bed

My work trip is over. I’m really looking forward to some home cooking and sleeping in my own bed.

The work part was productive, even if it was a bit of hard work. McCall is a pretty nice place, and it isn’t too far from Boise. It’s a resortish area. It isn’t quite like Sun Valley, or Jackson Hole, but it’s getting there.

This is an iPhone shot out the window of the restaurant we ate at last night to give you an idea.

Speaking of the restaurant, how could I pass this up…honestly?

As the author of The Yak Guy Project, I felt obligated to try them. They were good, but very lean. Reminded me a bit of range beef, if anyone knows what I’m talking about. This is beef that never went to a feedlot to get fattened up before going to the slaughter house. Growing up out West, range beef is kind of a staple. You can always buy directly from the rancher, say a 1/2 beef at a time.

Home cooking amounted to a scrambled egg sandwich. Meh, can’t have everything. Old What’s Her Face didn’t know when I was coming home, and I respect not wanting to prepare something fancy if I wouldn’t be home in time. I honestly didn’t know when I would get home. I was at the mercy of the group.

I’m off for the next three days, and hope to accomplish a couple of things. I need to work on some interviews, and I’d like to move my pirate story along too. I’ll have prime writing time, because my daughter is already in Sun Valley, and my wife has to work.

I already know I’m going to have to force things on the pirate story. In real world time, they are holed up doing repairs that will take a long time. In story time, I’m going to have it take a month, but that’s speeding things up. My mission is to deliver the concept of time to my readers, and divert their attention with a side trip for two characters. This is because I want to expand them a bit, make what is really going on be a surprise when it’s revealed, and maybe even dabble in a tiny bit of romance on a tropical island.

I can keep some tension by having the best friend complain that the main mission seems to be getting lost. Spread a bit of dissent, that kind of thing.

Piece of cake, right?

I probably missed some things while I was gone. I’ll browse pretty fast in an attempt to catch up, but I’m almost certain to not read every bit of what I’m trying to catch up on. Hope you guys understand.

34 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized