Tag Archives: work

I hate not having topics

I enjoy blogging, I really do. Talking with everyone that stops over is fun. My life is just kind of boring right now.

Work has been consistent and gets the bulk of my time. That’s no fun to talk about. Every night I try to get through a couple of chapters of HMS Lanternfish with an eye toward getting it published.

This weekend I want to finish my final proofreading and get Lanternfish to the formatter. I’m off on Monday, too, so that might help.

This stuff just isn’t as much fun as drafting new material. That’s when the creative juices are flowing and I have more to post about.

I’m still dabbling with story boards and adding the occasional bit. I’m down to sticky notes instead of index cards and that means they’re ready to write. I added a few graphics to one because they help.

I guess the point is that I’m still working on writing projects, but they aren’t things I can discuss right now. The future is looking bright for Lizzie and the hat, but I can’t talk about it yet.

I had to see the dentist this week. Not fun to talk about either, and in the era of COVID I have some concerns. This is my year to spend from our flex account and I need to have some work done. If I don’t, then someone else will just spend the money and I’ll be put off again.

Today I tried to refill my blood pressure medications. Nope! They insist I come in for an appointment. All they really want to do is milk my insurance, but I don’t have a choice. I swear I’m going to be pissed if all they do it check my blood pressure again. We could do that via telemedicine. They promised to give me enough pills until I could get in to see them. That was big of them.

We hit 102º yesterday and it was 101º when I checked a moment ago. That’s kind of rough, but it’s expected every year.

Not much more to say from Idaho. I hope all of you are doing more interesting things and staying safe… and cool. Hope you’re staying cool, too.

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Gotta write something…

It was a busy week at work. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking with it. When you combine that with my short weekend, I didn’t get a damned thing accomplished on the writing front.

Next week is looking like it’s going to be just as busy, but I have a three day weekend at the far end.

I managed to dabble a bit, but it doesn’t amount to anything I can see. I marked up some work for a critique partner. I’ve been sitting on my own critiques for a week and finally addressed those. Then I sent out another section, but I wrote that two weeks ago.

I also hacked out my next Story Empire post, but it needs some work. Beyond that, I added a few words to my Jason Fogg short story in the evenings, and that’s it. This stuff counts, and it has to be done, but it isn’t the same as one of my 3000 word writing sessions.

Old What’s Her Face and I ordered takeout, then watched whatever we could find on television. That’s kind of boring, too. I’ve decided that most takeout doesn’t travel well. Sweet and sour chicken is great at the restaurant, but becomes a big dough ball by the time it gets home. Anyplace we’ve gone that comes with fries tends to work out the same way.

When it comes to take it and bake it pizza, or a bucket of chicken, that stuff works well. Maybe it’s because they’ve had decades to perfect the product.

Don’t lose faith in me. I intend to have two more releases this year, and inclusion in an anthology. Some weekends are better than others.

Looking forward to next weekend and maybe I can move one of my stories ahead. Hope all of you are safe and well. Those of you who write, I hope you had a productive weekend.

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A different kind of week

I spent the first two days of it sick. This means sick enough to stay home from work. It’s one of those typical sinus things I seem to get about every other winter. This one came with fever and deep coughing. It’s worse when I sleep, so I haven’t been getting much of that.

Wednesday, I got up and assessed how I felt. I decided I could return to the office. I tried to hit it hard in the morning, and got a lot accomplished. I probably should have stopped at noon. The shivering returned, but I had aspirin with me. After a couple of those it settled down. I think the fever broke for good near quitting time.

I probably wasn’t firing on all cylinders either day, but I managed to get more accomplished than I could have from home.

Today was my flex day and I looked forward to some writing. When I left Lanternfish, they’d landed in Giapon and stumbled into a dangerous situation. Today was the day to flesh out that situation.

It wound up being a section of dialog, and I felt pretty good about it. This exchange is supposed to take place over several days, and my goal is to have it come across like a verbal chess match with a very powerful man.

I’d like to break this up with some other goings on that involve the crew. This shouldn’t be too hard, but I’m going to try minimizing the root monsters. They had a pretty active role in the last part, and readers can get too much of a good thing.

All told, I was happy with today’s progress until I checked my word count. 676 words! That’s all I managed. I know low output days are part of the gig, but that’s pretty minuscule by my standards.

There are several reasons for this, one of which could be my cold. It may be that I’ve truly reached the middle slog, like happens on every book. It could also simply be one of those off days that happens to all of us.

Old What’s Her Face has to go in at midnight, then pull a double shift tomorrow. In theory, I should be able to accomplish a bit more then. However, I agreed to stay up until she goes to work. My coughing all night isn’t going to help her get a little sleep. I also need to get a haircut, but could do that any time tomorrow.

My goals are to nudge Lanternfish ahead in the morning, get the haircut in the afternoon, then my wife is alluding to date night in the evening. I don’t have faith that she’ll want to go out after that shift, but will stay open to the idea.

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For my next amazing stunt…

My presentation went well, and my work week ended on a high note. The drive home was uneventful, and the wildlife all but disappeared.

I’m kind of a curmudgeon when it comes to technology. I go all in on things that interest me, but avoid other parts of it. I didn’t want to take the time pairing my phone with the company car, so I made both drives in total silence. When I take my truck, I usually have my Lizzie and The Hat playlist blasting.

Funny thing about those silent drives. This is when Lorelei the Muse joins me and we have great conversations. There is no set path, and we bounce from project to project. I came up with some neat ideas for the post-apocalyptic thing I have partially storyboarded. I have some root monster ideas for the next Lanternfish story, and may have partially solved a geographical problem I discovered. Even Lizzie and The Hat were topics and I have some ideas about them, too.

Old What’s Her Face has to work today, so I had a morning to myself. I spent the time finishing the draft of Grinders. I’m just shy of 77,000 words. I think that’s a good length for a modern-day stand-alone novel. I like the way it came out. Story threads wrapped up, and there is some hope for the future. Even the animals got a half page epilogue to give them some closure.

After the first draft of Grinders, I tried to read all the blogs I missed from my road-trip. I admit to not commenting everywhere, and some of you only got a “like” and a tweet. I’m not even going to try catching up on Twitter.

I’m sure there will be a session of paying those damned bills today. We might even squeeze in a date night of some kind.

I have a loose plan for the future, but am not committing to very much. Grinders needs to go into the fermenter for a while. I’ll probably read everything I have of HMS Lanternfish tomorrow. That will put me back in the right mindset, and help me add words when I get another flex day.

I owe a few people some reads, and may carve out time for that. Part of me wants to start another side project immediately, but it doesn’t feel right. I have a new story about Lizzie and The Hat that could fill that slot. Lanternfish has been patiently at anchor since September, and I need to move that project along. I promised a trilogy, and Serang will only keep people distracted for so long. I must release a Lanternfish story in 2020.

Serang seems to be doing well, but could always use more reviews. I never intended to push her as hard as Viral Blues, but a couple more tour posts wouldn’t hurt. Maybe I’ll dig through my list and see if there’s someone I haven’t bothered in a while to host me. I still have one fresh new Lisa Burton poster I haven’t revealed to anyone. I can use it here, but I like to send her to other sites.

My early thought is Lanternfish can fill the rest of 2019 quite well. I need to think about what kind of cover and artwork I want for Grinders, set the money aside, then contact Sean. If I do this right, it could be out at the end of Winter or early Spring. By only working on Lanternfish, I have time for budgeting, thinking, and planning out my 2020 goals.

I guess my next amazing stunt is to dial it down a bit. Lanternfish lets me keep a hand in, but there are other things on my horizon, too. Winter feels like the right time for this. Do any of you take a step back this time of year?

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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