Jan 052017
 

First of all, I hope you all had a fantastic New Year’s.  I’ve reached that point in my life where quiet is better, so no crazy parties for MBH and I.  Truth be told, we’ve never been much for the wild New Year’s Eve parties. For us, getting our wild on this year entailed fixing one of our favorite meals.  Now, in order to let you appreciate just how different this meal is for us, I have to let you in on a not-so-secret secret. I’m not a big fan of red meat. Sure, I’ll munch on a burger as much as the next guy, and I love sausage and bacon in the morning.  But I’ve never really developed the appreciation most people have of a fine steak or roast.  It’s just not my thing.

But a few years back, I sampled my first buffalo flank steak and fell in love.  I don’t know why, but buffalo just tastes GOOD to me. And luckily, there was a store that carried it near our house in Houston.  It’s a little pricier than regular beef, but both MBH and I liked it enough that it became a semi-regular treat for us.

When we moved to Oklahoma, one of the things on my mind was the idea that we had moved into buffalo country!  It’s true.  Driving around this part of the country, it’s relatively common to see small herds of buffalo, where ranchers raise them like other ranches raise cattle. I just knew we were going to have quick and easy access to more buffalo at better prices.

ww67-aUnfortunately, the truth was much different. I’ve only found a few stores here that carry any buffalo at all, and those stores typically only carry it ground.  I found one place in Tulsa that says they have buffalo sirloin in their frozen food section… sometimes.  But none of them carry flank steak.  Side Frown

We searched online and also found some sites that sell the cuts we’re after, and we ordered from one of them… once.  Don’t get me wrong, the meat was delicious, and the people at Wild Idea Buffalo were very knowledgeable.  As a matter of fact, we learned to try some other cuts from them, and loved their skirt steaks and their flat-iron steaks.  The problem with ordering from them was the shipping fees.  Buying half a dozen steaks cost us about $40 in shipping, and that is just something we can’t afford to keep doing.  But I get it.  Shipping meat across the country requires fast, refrigerated shipping.  And that isn’t cheap.

But it’s still outside of our budget.

ww67-bSo for the Christmas holiday this year, we asked our son to bring some buffalo flank up from that store in Houston, where we used to buy it.  It’s ironic that we’re here, in the heart of buffalo country, and the best way for us to get our favorite flank steak is to have it brought up from Houston.  But he brought us four absolutely gorgeous steaks, and one of those was our New Year’s Eve dinner.  (insert a sigh of contentment here)

And as you can see from the pictures, it didn’t go unappreciated.  Big Smile

On the writing front…

Chucklers, Volume 1 – Severed Press put CV1 on an Amazon countdown sale for 99¢ and advertised it in the Booksends newsletter. The sale ends at 2AM tomorrow morning (central time), or just about fifteen hours from the time of this posting.  So here’s me, crossing my fingers and hoping sales do well.

End Point PangaeaEPP moved slowly for a bit, but I’m back on it today.  Between the holidays, and other writing projects, EPP simply didn’t get the attention it deserved, so the progress meter on it barely moved over the holidays.  That changes now.

FSJ – The Sekrit Projekt went pretty well. For now, I’m waiting to see what happens with it, and that’s all I can say about it for now.

Year 12 – I got the file for the Y12 print interior and, after some quick back and forth changes, I’ve approved the result and we’re moving on to the e-book files and print cover.  I’m hopeful that the final product will be ready to publish VERY soon.   Grin

So that’s it in my world. Time to get back to writing.  So as always, stay safe, and I’ll talk to you more next week. Bye

Dec 212016
 

year-12-3Yep, Year 12 is off for formatting.  For now at least, there is nothing more that I can do to move it along.  Nothing but wait.  So, I’m back to End Point Pangaea and FSJ (aka the “Sekrit Projekt”) as my primary WIPs.

But for now, Christmas planning, decorating, and other miscellaneous preparations is taking a front seat.  That means the writing is slower than usual, but that’s normal for this time of year.  And that’s all right.  We’re about to have visitors.  My youngest daughter, my son, daughter-in-law, and youngest grand-daughter are due here in a few days, and MBH & I are doing what we can to make sure we get to enjoy as much time with them as possible.  So there are meals to plan, floors to keep clean, and of course, gifts to wrap.  Smile

But I’m still moving along, and enjoying the new writing projects more than I thought I would.  As a matter of fact, FSJ, which was originally slated as a quick 2500 word… er, project, is currently at just under 2900 words, and still going strong.  It will likely lose quite a bit as I finish and then revise it, but it speaks volumes to me that I am having so much fun with it that I don’t want to cut it short.  But for now, I’ve simply moved the target on the progress meter form 2500 words to 3500.  And I’ll just have to see where it actually ends up as things progress.

But for now, it’s time to walk the girls.  Hopefully, I’ll get time for a bit more writing after that.  So take care, and have a safe and very merry Christmas.  I’ll talk to you next time.  Bye

Dec 072016
 

ww64I hope you’re all having fun, getting ready to celebrate the upcoming holidays, at least those of you who celebrate. We’re gearing up for our first hard freeze. It’s supposed to drop into the mid- to upper- teens tomorrow night.  As I write this, it’s nearly 4:30 in the afternoon, and the temp is currently 34 degrees (F).  As a matter of fact, I went to the store today and when I got back, we had a very light dusting of snow falling. Not enough to stick, and the flakes were barely more than droplets of mist.  But for someone who has lived most of his life in the Houston area, it was definitely noticeable.   Smile

Our forecast says that tomorrow’s hard freeze will be 16 to 18 degrees, with a “real feel” down into the single digits.  Yeah, I think I’ll be laying another fire tonight.  LOL

The writing is going pretty well, though preparations for the holidays do interfere some. End Point Pangaea is moving along, slowly but surely.  As you can see in the meter to the right, I’ve cracked the projected 50% mark, having broken 41k of an estimated 80k goal.

Additionally, there is a new meter over there, entitled “Sekrit Projekt – FSJ”.  This one is a gamble.  It may pan out, it may not.  But it promises to be a LOT of fun if it does, and even though I can’t say any more about it than that, I hope you’ll keep your fingers crossed for me.  Shut Mouth

And that’s it.  I’m going to cut this post short and get back to writing.  So stay safe, and I’ll talk to you next time.  Bye

Dec 012016
 

ww63a-copyHope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving – at least, those of you who celebrated it last week. My Canadian friends are likely looking down here to the US thinking, late to the party again, eh? (Heavy emphasis on the “eh”.)   Laugh  But for those of us here in the US, we just finished our Thanksgiving, and immediately began the after-party madness that is Christmas decorating.

Yep, MBH is a traditionalist. The day after Thanksgiving is always the day we put up Christmas decorations. Honestly, I would probably be a bit of a Scrooge if not for her, but I love seeing how happy it makes her to put up the tree, and garland, and the lights and all the admitted cheeriness that also is Christmas decorating. And she does a great job with it (and I’m not just saying that because I know she’ll read this later.)  Smile   I mean, just look at the tree!

ww63b-copyOf course, for the girls, the tree is just something new for them to sniff at and figure out.  Is it an intruder? A piece of furniture? A chew toy? And evidently, at least part of it fell into the latter category. I had to take MBH’s car into the dealership yesterday to address a recall on the rear suspension.  Five hours after they started the two and a half hour job, I finally got out of there, only to come home and find that some of the insides of the new tree skirt, had mysteriously migrated to the outside of the new tree skirt.

Yeah, see that puff of white in the bottom of the pic there?  And if you look closely, you’ll see a little more back behind the tree, and the little tear where the skirt spontaneously erupted, spewing its guts onto the floor. When I walked into the house and saw it, of course I wondered aloud what had happened.

ww63c-copyAnd for some strange reason, when I asked Cricket about it, she immediately rolled onto her back.  I could almost hear her telling me, “Really Dad!  It jumped up and attacked me!  It was all self-defense! Honest!”  It was all I could do not to laugh at her attempts to apologize.

As for writing news…

Y12 – Year 12 has gone through two rounds with the editor and it off to the final proofreader. After that, it comes back here, where I add the front and back matter (dedication, acknowledgements, etc.) and then send it off for formatting.  And at that point, it should be ready to publish.  Woot!

Oh! And speaking of Year 12, I let those of you on my mailing list get a sneak peek at the cover a couple of weeks ago.  For those of you who aren’t on the list, I guess I can finally let you take a look, as well.  Wink  Here are all three titles in the Half Past Midnight universe, so you can see them all together.all

 

Hat tip to Glendon Haddix at Streetlight Graphics, for the outstanding cover work.  He did all three covers here, as well as much of the work on my Streets of Payne covers.

EPPEnd Point Pangaea is back on the front burner as my primary WIP.  I stumbled for a few days after being away from it while working on Y12 edits and then the holidays. When you’re gone from something like that for a while, you tend to forget the characters and plot twists that you’re trying to weave through the story.  So it took me a couple of days to regain the momentum.  But I’m back in, and the story is flowing well, once more.

CLCrazy Larry is a planned novella I’m working on.  It’s another HPM title – the story of what happened to Larry Troutman after Leeland left him on D-day. So far, I’m about 8000 words into it.  And while it’s planned as a novella, it’s beginning to feel as if it might just be a bit shorter.  I’ll just have to see where the story takes me.

And that’s it for now. Time to get back to work. So stay safe, and I’ll talk to you next time.  Bye

 

Oct 262016
 

ghost-story-final-bI’m in a little bit of a lull, as far as the work load goes.  I’m sure it won’t last long, but there are no immediate, pressing deadlines overhead at the moment.  The Burning Land is out… Chucklers – Book 1 is with the publisher… Year 12 is with the editor… and there’s no one depending on me to get anything done with my writing at the moment.

It’s an odd feeling.  Sure, I’m still working on End Point Pangaea, and there’s a certain amount of urgency to get it done, but it’s not like things have been for the last several weeks, where there are people waiting on me to get something done before the titles can be released.  For once, no one is waiting on me.

Of course, that will change as soon as Severed sends me the final (or what I hope will be the final) .mobi file for CB1, or when I get back editorial notes on Y12.  Hopefully, the CB1 file will be problem free, and can then be released.  And the edits for Y12 will likely take a week or two, but for now, it looks like the main project is going to be EPP.

There’s a certain amount of relief in the knowledge that it’s not all waiting on me, at the moment.   Cool

So, what else is going on?  Hmmm…

Oh!  My first horror short story, Ghost Story, is free for the next five days, (though at a bit over 15,000 words, it’s technically it’s a novelette, not a short story.)  According to the Hugo and Nebula awards:

  • … a “short story” is 7,500 words or less
  • … a “novelette” is 7,501 to 17,500 words
  • … a “novella” is 17,501 t0 40,000 words  AND
  • … a “novel” is 40,001 words or more

Yeah, aren’t you thrilled? Wink

Now, hang on while I grab a copy of the cover to insert into this post……

Okay, I’m back.  Now, where was I?  Oh yeah, Ghost Story is free.  I figured it would be a good Halloween read, so if any of you are looking for a something to give you a few chills for the holiday, grab a free copy.  And if you’re so inclined, leave a review.  Just be aware that it’s not like most of my other published titles to date.  After all, it’s HORROR!   Devil 

And now for something completely different… I got a nice email out of the blue last week, from one of the honchos at Telemachus, the company that published my first novel, Half Past Midnight.  He was writing to let me know that, though the company had published the novel a few years back, he had recently re-read it for pleasure, rather than work, and said that he had greatly enjoyed it.  I can’t tell you how much a kind message like that means to a struggling author.  It’s a really nice shot in the arm.

But that’s it for now.  I’m going to keep this post short, and get back to work on EPP.  Because, despite what I said about not being rushed at the moment, once those edits come back to me, I’ll once more be working under pressure.  And the more I can get done on the novel before that happens, the less stress I’ll have to deal with then.

So, stay safe everyone.  I’ll talk to you next time.  Bye