Tag Archives: writing

Odd day to update

I had to change my work week around. This led to me getting Tuesday as my flex day. I kind of expected to get a lot done, but it never felt quite right. Sometimes you just have a feeling.

Otto tried to get me started early, but I got him to go back to sleep. I didn’t get up until 7:00.

This is still okay, but the dogs were well rested and crazy for a few hours. Think of a moving battle that rolls from room to room and across the floor. They’re just playing, but bulldog style has to be witnessed to be appreciated. Imagine two hippos with mouths wide open. They growl and rush at each other before a lengthy pushing match ensues.

I wound up reading through the last two chapters of Lanternfish and making some edits. I discovered an odd bit about paying off the crew when they got to the pirate stronghold. It’s all fixed now, but it took some thought and experimentation.

I also dreamed up a few more scenes to bring into the story somehow. Then I drifted off into research.

This time it’s about jellyfish. How they work, which parts do what; that kind of thing. It’s probably going to lead to a jellyfish that’s several miles wide, and big enough to get a ship stuck for days. It’s also big enough to ensnare an entire pod of whales. It’s a work in progress, so we’ll see how that comes out after a bit of improvement.

I’m also working on bits about the root monsters vs seagulls, and vs the ship’s cook. May, or may not, include them.

My daughter was home today, so we spent most of the day talking. For some reason I can daydream and say, “Uh huh,” at the same time. (I think it’s a Dad thing.) Her last day at the Boise job is tomorrow, she starts in Sun Valley again Sunday.

The cat will be moving with her. He was pretty funny today too. He attacked the dogs and ran upstairs. He’s quite the little antagonist. He likes to hide between the throw pillows while Frankie tries to draw him like a badger.

I can’t complain about today’s outcome. It will be the last big visit with my daughter for a while, and it was nice. My story is between acts, and at a transition phase. It’ll keep.

Things might be quiet on my front for the next few days, but Lisa Burton Radio is all scheduled and ready to go. I will respond to comments and such as time allows, but will be with colleagues in McCall and my time is not my own.

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Hodgepodge kind of day

Otto decided to get me up at 5:00 this morning. It really wasn’t in my plan, but Momma put some leftover chicken breast in his bowl, and he knew it was there. He held out as long as he could, then needed to get at it.

Across yesterday and today, I got one shtick out the door for an interview, and scheduled one for July. I have another one to schedule, and two more to move ahead in the queue. One of my guests is a planner, and needs a date in August. I went ahead and scheduled that one too. (I love planners. They can make the interview part of a larger tour.)

I managed about 2000 new words of fiction today too. Yesterday was all about cannons, swords, and action. Today was all about coming down from that. The pirate crew is starting to meld together, and it occurred to me that, as a whole, the crew is also a character. A lot of character building happened today. Fart jokes were made too.

I watched a beautiful horse race today, which led to another Triple Crown Winner. These things are rare, and there may have been as many Popes in my lifetime as Triple Crown Winners. (I’m not taking the time to count.) So excited for Justify and his peeps.

Now I’m hoping my baseball team can pad their lead in the west. This is going to be a tough series, and we’re on the road, but stranger things have happened.

I took a minute to catch up on blogs, and stumbled across some exciting news. Karen O, is the first book reviewer I ever met. Years ago, she was taken by Lisa Burton in her debut novel. She asked me if she could use Lisa in a story she was writing.

Lisa was just lounging around, and I hadn’t come up with tasks for Lisa at the time, so I said yes. Karen serialized this story on her blog, and it was a lot of fun. A while back, she asked me if it might be alright to publish it. I said yes, with no reservations, and encouraged her to do it.

Karen is doing a cover reveal today for her story, Neighbors. Lisa has a small co-starring kind of role in the story. Go visit Karen for more information at this site In A Small Compass.

If I do nothing else, it’s been a productive weekend. I plan on addressing those pending interviews, but we’ll see how it goes.

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A great day for piracy

Lisa met me at the top of the stairs. She had those knee high boots that turn over at the top, and her Captain Barbosa hat on. “What are we working on today, mate?”

“Well, figured to read my last chapter, then move the story ahead as much as possible.”

“Sounds like a plan, but I need you outside first.”

I followed her across the deck, then out to the field before she turned around. A black skull and crossbones flag flew over the writing cabin. “I love it, where’d you get it.”

“I made it, silly. I have a lot of time to myself out here, and did it for you. The logs on the cabin almost look like an old ship, if you use your imagination.”

“It’s perfect for this story. Guess I’d better get started.”

“Not so fast, matey.” She spun me around to face a line of logs she’d placed vertically in the meadow. Each of them held one block of ice. She handed me a flintlock pistol and stepped back.

“Really, for me?”

“You need to have the experience.”

I cocked the hammer, took careful aim, and missed the target. Sulfurous black smoke drifted across my field of vision.

She traded me for a fresh pistol, and started reloading the one I just fired. “Better hurry, they get smaller out in the sun.”

I repeated my motions, but this time the ice exploded into a million pieces. “Hey! Look at that.”

“Very nice, now the next one.” She handed me the freshly charged pistol. “You have two more coming at you.”

We repeated the exercise until all the ice disappeared. “Thanks for doing this. It helps to remember these aren’t semi automatic pistols that can be fired over and over with ease. Pirates would have to save their shot, or take cover to reload.” I handed the pistol back. “Guess I’d better get started.”

“Not so fast.” She pulled two cutlasses from the grass and tossed one my way. “Defend yourself.”

I blocked her strike and stepped back.

“Come on, you’ll never learn if you don’t try.”

“These things are dangerous.”

“I’m a sophisticated high-tech robot. I’m not going to hurt you.” She thrust at me, and I batted her blade away to the side.

“But I’m not. What if I mess up and hurt you?”

“Please. Class three battle chassis inside. You’d need armor piercing ammo to get through, and more firepower than that sword.”

I picked up my pace and returned the fight. We clashed all across the meadow, up and down the steps on the deck, and out onto the airstrip.

I took a step back and held my blade up with both hands in a halt position.

“What’s wrong now?”

“I’m tired.”

“You’re old and fat. This is where you get run through.”

“Besides, I don’t have a cool hat.”

“The hat has nothing to do with it. It’s all about skill, stamina, and experience.”

“I’d like to experience some iced tea about now.”

“I can make some.”

“And some air conditioning would be nice too.”

“Fine. Wimp.”

“It was fun though. Loved the pistols.”

“Gotta admit, that seems more your style.”

We headed inside and Lisa brought tea to my office. I took a sip, and placed the cold glass to my forehead. “I’m surprised you didn’t have cannons for us to fire.”

“I called Red Herring, but they’re all rented out. Seems like all the authors want cannons this weekend.”

“You didn’t really. Did you?”

“I know you don’t like the guy, but he has all the story elements you ever need. Besides, buying one would give you a stroke. Rental is the only way to go.”

I opened my iPad and started writing. Lisa piped some quiet pirate themed music through the building.

By the time I finished for the day, I’d written nearly five thousand new words. We captured a ship, got disappointed in the treasure. Experienced a monster of the deep, and witnessed what can only be described as carrot abuse.

I introduced one new character called Stuttering Lewis. Lest this sound like character soup, it’s fourteen chapters in, so you get one here and there. I’ll have a few more along the way, but they’re mostly color and background now. I can’t write a book and call them pirate #1 and pirate #2.

We also unfurled a new flag, but I won’t describe it because it’s kind of spoilerish.

It feels like an end to Act One. That arguably could have been an earlier section, but I don’t mind being a little vague on that part. Acts are more like guidelines anyway. (Sounds good for a pirate story.)

I’ve struggled over the last couple of books to hit a decent word count. This one is not going to have that problem. It may be the rare story where I have to cut things to make it digestible for readers.

Hope you’re all enjoying the weekend, or will if you didn’t score friday off. I still need to work up some interview pieces, but it’s hard not to keep sailing this ship forward.

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Rambling thoughts today

I’m getting keyed up for my writing day tomorrow, pending distractions. Distractions are always possible.

I’ve been thinking about that tiny gap between my fingers and the keyboard today. There is a story in my brain on one side of the gap. The other side of the gap holds the promise of a story everyone can read, and hopefully enjoy. All I have to do is complete the circuit and make it happen. That’s my big plan for tomorrow.

***

I got a visit from Lorelei, the Muse the other day. It always seems to happen that I get scenes that have nothing to do with my work-in-progress. This one goes to the cyberpunk outline I have started, tentatively called Grinders. It involves the cop’s brother. He is a cyber-shut-in. This is a world of delivery by drones, many online worlds to explore, and some people who haven’t left the apartment in years. The guy makes his living by spamming for others, and by exchanging cyber-currency in various worlds he lives in. Of course, this guy will have to hold some kind of clue to help find the bad guys, and the estrangement between he and his brother should be palpable.

Anyway, I made an index card and added it to the side of the outline. I’ll figure out what to do with this guy later. I have at least two books ahead of this one.

***

I have a coffee maker with a metal, thermal, carafe. Eventually, you have to microwave the coffee anyway. Why hasn’t anyone invented a carafe that can be microwaved in its entirety? Metal pots and microwaves don’t work very well. Ceramic ones could hold heat and go in the microwave. Then I could take it to my writing place and use it there. Maybe a cool one that looks like a shrunken head or something.

***

Why hasn’t someone invented microwave hot water heaters. We have hot water on-demand that heats smaller volumes very quickly. Why not do the same thing using microwaves?

***

While we’re at it, I still think we need computers that focus for us. I could make some adjustments to the monitor and work without my glasses. You might not be able to see it, but you could focus your own computer. It’s allergy season, and I spend as much time cleaning my glasses as working for the next 30 days.

***

With that brain purge, I think I’m ready to work on my piracy story tomorrow. Do your heads ever get filled up with extra thoughts until they distract you? Do you find that writing them down helps get rid of them?

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One of those days…

The internet has been pretty quiet this week. I noticed the number of posts in my reader is down, and other forms of social media are less active too. Blogging usually slows down for the summer, but Twitter seems to never end. Whatever the reason it’s observable.

I’m in kind of a blue mood. These happen every once in a while. I’d like more sales, more reviews, more of everything. This isn’t unusual, but the summer slowdown seems to be hitting Yak Guy kind of hard. I should have released it a month earlier than I did, or held it for Fall. What’s done is done now. I think it’s a good story, and hopefully folks will read it and feel the same way.

I’ve also been fighting with finances again. This seems to be a recurring battle, and I ought to be used to it now. It makes me have strange ideas about whether publishing my stories is worth it at all. The dream is just to pad my retirement a bit in about eight to ten years. I could easily write my stories and park them in a box somewhere. They make me happy, I feel creative, but it kind of kills the improvement. Readers help me whet the edges and raise my game. Publishing costs money, even if it’s just a cover, and that creates a vicious circle.

My daughter has taken a new job that will send her back to Sun Valley. She loves it over there, and it’s a supervisory position for more money. I hope she can find a place to stay, because Sun Valley isn’t like the rest of the planet. Things are expensive there.

I kind of like Jackson the cat, but he’ll be moving with her. There is one small benefit to this too.

I need to get over my crappy mood and get ready for the weekend. I have piracy to write about, and don’t want to spend the weekend pouting. I found this somewhere on the Internet and it helped a bunch.

Mayhaps I should searcheth around and see where I can buy this needlepoint when I have a few bucks. This is a powerful message, and would look great on my wall somewhere. It’s a good reminder to get over myself and get back to work. I WILL get back to work and put the evil thoughts behind me… by Friday… Saturday at the latest.

 

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Ready for the weekend

Today seemed like it took forever. At least I had a visitor for a little while. This little buck stopped just long enough to pose for photos.

I got a ton of things done today at the office, and I’m beat. Tonight, I’ll probably have a beer and watch a baseball game.

The free day for The Hat is going well. With Don Massenzio’s post it seemed like a good time to try it. The highest rank I caught was #32 under the superhero genre. You have until midnight to get it for free.

Okay, it’s a lousy picture, but it’s out of necessity. This data does not display on my phone. The PC doesn’t save images to my private account. Therefore, I used my phone to take a picture of my PC monitor.

It could creep a little higher with a few more downloads. The book is free until midnight. You might want to grab a copy today, and read it later.

Tomorrow I’m going to hoist the colors and get back to my manuscript. There are two interviews I need to schedule, but if I get to them Sunday that’s perfectly okay.

I’m kind of excited to get back to my pirates, monsters, and adventure. Hope all of you have fun plans and a great weekend.

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Riding the wave

Life seems to come in waves. If you’re on a roll with a project, it seems to build it’s own momentum. Projects at the office seem to go that way too. When things go wrong, they seem to keep going wrong.

I’ve completely given up on my WIP for now. This is the pirate story, and I’m desperate to get back to it. Even the determination to set it aside makes me feel better. It’s one less thing I have to worry about.

I have company this weekend, and that comes with it’s own challenges. I elected to stay home with Dad while my wife and mother went to town. I don’t need anything from town anyway.

Dad and I talked a bunch yesterday, but today he wants to stare at the Golf Channel. I took the opportunity to work on things that don’t require deep thought.

One of those things is The Yak Guy Project. I wrote two more advance blog posts. Since I know this story so well, I don’t have to work in total silence. Putting together a unique promo post isn’t that hard.

I also sent Yak Guy to my formatter. I’ve convinced myself that summer releases suck, at least in my genres. May isn’t quite summer though, is it?

The dogs woke me up early this morning. I took advantage to write up one shtick for Lisa Burton Radio and got it sent to the author. It wasn’t two or three, but even one is forward progress.

Honestly, I never expected to get this much done, so it’s kind of a bonus.

In other news, it looks like we need a new battery for my wife’s car. That’s not a huge deal, but it’s about par for the course lately.

This is a wave, and I’ll ride it out. There will be another wave, and hopefully it has a pirate ship and a few monsters on it.

I feel good about moving Yak Guy forward. This means two releases in 2018, and that isn’t bad. I don’t feel the need to complete my current project for a 2018 release. It could happen come winter, but if it happens in 2019 that’s fine too.

On a fun note, when my daughter got a cat, I was worried about Frankie wanting to kill him. She has a different attitude about such things. There was some careful monitoring of their relationship along the way.

These days, Frankie and Jackson the cat are best buds. Good enough to eat from the same dish.

Frankie has more of an underslung jaw than Otto. She tends to flick kibble out of her bowl when she eats. Jackson likes to bat them around the floor before eating them himself.

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