Five-Thing Thursday: May 13th.

Welcome, everyone to another installment of Five Thing Thursday and…

Here are Five Things I want you to Know:

Thing #1:   So far this week, I’ve gotten caught in the rain twice on my walks. Betrayed by my weather app

Thing #2:  I am in the final Editing pass of my novella Crimson Whisper.

Thing #3: There will be a total Lunar Eclipse on the 26th. I’m sure I’ll mention it again between now and then.

Thing #4: This week’s Audio Landscape has been brought to you by… Boston

Thing #5: Simply walking to Mordor: This week I’ve walked 18.79 miles bringing my total to 168.99 miles from Bag-End. As the crow flies, I’ve not quite made it to Amon-Sul.

###

What am  I reading this week?

Grave Dance by Kalayna Price

Annihilation Aria by Michael R Underwood

The Path of Daggers by Robert Jordan

How have I been relaxing and refilling the well?

Plenty of Rugby to watch this coming weekend. Should also be some good grilling weather tomorrow.

###

Be sure to check out the Freebies Page for story Excerpts.

If you’ve read, and enjoyed any of my books, please consider leaving a review:

Weird Wild West

Trials

Predators in Petticoats

Chasing the Light

See you on Sunday!

Until then…

Be safe. Be Excellent to each other.

Posted in 5-Thing Thursday | Tagged | Leave a comment

Distractions

I looked out this morning and the sun was gone
Turned on some music to start my day
I lost myself in a familiar song
I closed my eyes and I slipped away

“More than a Feeling” – Boston.
(You’re welcome for the earworm)

I’m sure this has happened to you – it happened to me just now:

You sit down to do something, and put on a bit of music (for me, it’s *always* music), for a bit of background, and something comes on that just grabs you by the face and forces you to focus on that.

Usually it’s something that hasn’t come up on the playlist for a while – it’s pretty obvious what it was for me this morning.

Coincidentally, I think it perfectly illustrates my point. The singer is in the middle of “Other Stuff.” Then he turns on some music and loses himself in a familiar song. He closes his eyes and drifts away. Doing the “Other Stuff” has been completely derailed, if only temporarily.

It doesn’t have to be music. It can be a sound, a sight, a particular smell, a taste (Those last two can be particularly potent) that trigger a memory.

This can be the ideal place to introduce some of a character’s backstory into a scene. The character encounters something that forces them to pause and savor (or process, or suppress) something from their past. At the very least, it can help them become more real to your reader, particularly if your reader has a similar attitude toward whatever it was.

Now if that memory is something that’s going to become relevant later on in the story, you’ve just added a bit of subtle foreshadowing.

Your characters don’t move through their world in a vacuum – even if the story takes place in Space. They, like you and I, have a complex relationship with their environment, their senses, and their memories. Most of the time, those interactions are so common as to be instantly forgettable.

Sometimes they aren’t.

Thanks for reading.

Be safe out there. Be Excellent to Each other – and yourself.

I’ll see you on Thursday.

###

Be sure to check out the Freebies Page for story Excerpts.

If you’ve read, and enjoyed any of my books, please consider leaving a review:

Weird Wild West

Trials

Predators in Petticoats

Posted in LIfe, Writing | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Five-Thing Thursday: May 6th.

Welcome, everyone to another installment of Five Thing Thursday and…

Here are Five Things I want you to Know:

Thing #1:   There is a sliding scale out here for when the trees will start sprouting leaves.

Thing #2:  I have not taken a walk in this past week where I have not seen a turtle at some point.

Thing #3: There are some soundtracks that assist the movie, video game, etc. Then there are some soundtracks that tell a story by themselves

Thing #4: This week’s Audio Landscape has been brought to you by…The Entire Lord of the Rings Soundtrack

Thing #5: Simply walking to Mordor: This week I’ve walked 22.23 miles bringing my total to 150.20 miles from Bag-End. As the crow flies, I’m deep in The Wild with Strider. I’ve got the Midgewater Marshes to look forward to.

###

What am  I reading this week?

Grave Dance by Kalayna Price

Annihilation Aria by Michael R Underwood

How have I been relaxing and refilling the well?

I’m getting caught up on Movies – which is good.

###

Be sure to check out the Freebies Page for story Excerpts.

If you’ve read, and enjoyed any of my books, please consider leaving a review:

Weird Wild West

Trials

Predators in Petticoats

Chasing the Light

See you on Sunday!

Until then…

Be safe. Be Excellent to each other.

Posted in 5-Thing Thursday | Tagged | Leave a comment

Oh the Bear Necessities…

Sometimes, no matter how much planning you do, no matter how far you look ahead, you’ll find a day that just doesn’t seem to have as many hours in it as the other ones.

On days like that, you’ll find that you’ve got to focus on the essentials then, if you’ve got the time, you can focus on other important, yet less essential things.

Don’t get me wrong: I love the blog, but it had to take a back seat to other stuff until…well…now, when I started composing this quick post.

Anyway, I hope Y’all had a most excellent week.

I’ll see you on Thursday.

Posted in LIfe | Tagged | Leave a comment

Five-Thing Thursday: April 29th.

Welcome, everyone to another installment of Five Thing Thursday and…

Here are Five Things I want you to Know:

Thing #1:  Last Saturday, the England Women’s Rugby team (The Red Roses) beat France to win their third consecutive Women’s Six Nations Championship! Well done!

Thing #2:  While I was out walking Yesterday, I had to stop to move a turtle from the middle of the road. I’m glad I did, I just hope I didn’t inadvertently undo hours of work…

Thing #3: Being hunted by Ringwraiths would, I think, have a positive impact on one’s daily step count.

Thing #4: This week’s Audio Landscape has been brought to you by… Sabaton

Thing #5: Simply walking to Mordor: This week I’ve walked 36.11 miles bringing my total to 117.17 miles from Bag-End. As the crow flies, I’ve left Bree (no Ride in a cart for me) after an eventful evening at the Prancing Pony and have entered The Wild with Strider…

What, it seemed like a reasonable thing to do…

Aragorn

###

What am  I reading this week?

Grave Dance by Kalayna Price

Annihilation Aria by Michael R Underwood

How have I been relaxing and refilling the well?

After a bit of Rain today, this weekend is going to be pretty nice. You’ll be able to find me at the Front Yard Bar and Grill this weekend.

###

Be sure to check out the Freebies Page for story Excerpts.

If you’ve read, and enjoyed any of my books, please consider leaving a review:

Weird Wild West

Trials

Predators in Petticoats

Chasing the Light

See you on Sunday!

Until then…

Be safe. Be Excellent to each other.

Posted in 5-Thing Thursday | Tagged | Leave a comment

Listen to Yourself

There are a few directions this topic can go: Reread what you post of social media before you hit “Send.” Consider your internal dialogue: Be nice to yourself. And those can certainly be future topics (Makes notes), but I’ve got something else in mind.

I love making lists and keeping track of things. The calendar over my desk has marks on it for every day I get out and walk, every day I write something, etc.

But there are some days where I just can’t (or shouldn’t) do those things. Take getting out and walking for example. I really enjoy that and have built up the endurance to really take extended treks. The usual weekend consists of back to back 10k walks (right around 6.2 miles). The problem here is that I’m not a machine. Ok, it’s not that simple it’s also that I’m getting up there is years and it takes me longer to recover when some part of me starts feeling the wear and tear.

But then I look at the calendar and see the uninterrupted string of days and I start to wonder whether I really need to take that break.

The answer is almost always a resounding “YES!” but it’s hard sometimes to accept that – to listen when my body says “You need to take a break to repair.”

Competition can be a huge motivating factor – which is why just about every fitness tracker and exercise app has a social component where you can compare your stats with others, see how you stand amongst them – and for the most part this is a good thing. The pressure to compete against yourself – and what you perceive your limits are – is important, perhaps even crucial, to growth.

But you’ve got to pay attention to yourself. It doesn’t do you any good to push yourself when the time has come to ease off and repair. There’s a cycle to it that, in the long run, will keep you going much longer that grinding yourself to dust will.

And that’s what I’m doing today.

Thanks for reading.

Be safe out there. Be Excellent to Each other – and yourself.

I’ll see you on Thursday.

###

Be sure to check out the Freebies Page for story Excerpts.

If you’ve read, and enjoyed any of my books, please consider leaving a review:

Weird Wild West

Trials

Predators in Petticoats

Posted in LIfe | Tagged | Leave a comment

Five-Thing Thursday: April 22nd.

Welcome, everyone to another installment of Five Thing Thursday and…

Here are Five Things I want you to Know:

Thing #1:  Always keep an eye (or an ear) out for new things. You never know what you’ll find if you don’t look.

Thing #2:  Some days, you just can’t. Whatever it is. And that’s ok.

Thing #3: The phrase “Pecking Order” seems pretty innocuous – until you raise chickens and get multiple roosters in the bunch.

Thing #4: This week’s Audio Landscape has been brought to you by… The Blues Brothers Soundtrack

Thing #5: Simply walking to Mordor: This week I’ve walked 19.04 miles bringing my total to 81.06 miles from Bag-End. As the crow flies, I’ve reached the other side of The Old Forest. By this time, I’ve been rescued by Tom Bombadil (Twice, no less!) and am waiting for a chance meeting with Farmer Maggot to catch a wagon ride to Bree.

Country lane in Chiltern Hills at dawn, Hertfordshire/Buckinghamshire border, England, U.K.

###

What am  I reading this week?

Grave Dance by Kalayna Price

Annihilation Aria by Michael R Underwood

How have I been relaxing and refilling the well?

Shaking off the cold this weekend. I think I’ll ease up off the throttle a bit, allow time to recover.

###

Be sure to check out the Freebies Page for story Excerpts.

If you’ve read, and enjoyed any of my books, please consider leaving a review:

Weird Wild West

Trials

Predators in Petticoats

Chasing the Light

See you on Sunday!

Until then…

Be safe. Be Excellent to each other.

Posted in 5-Thing Thursday | Tagged | Leave a comment

Pantsing and Plotting

I post every week.

I’ve done this for several years now (Which reminds me that it would be interesting to know – for me at least – how long I’ve been at this). So you’d think that, when the time comes to post here, it wouldn’t catch me by surprise. But it does.

Surprise might be too strong a word. It certainly isn’t like I wake up the day after Saturday and am like “Woah, where did this come from?” But on the other hand, in terms of these posts, I invariably wonder what it is I’m going to talk about.

This results in a type of stream-of-consciousness post (much like this one is) where I usually don’t know where it’s going until I sit down and get started. Sometimes I don’t even have a title for the post, just a vague thought that I’ll expand on as I go.

This does have certain benefits.

One of those benefits is the joy and the thrill of not knowing what’s going to end up on the screen (I was going to say “Page” here but it’s been a minute since I picked up my pen and wrote longhand…something I should address). I’m, as Indiana Jones would say, making it up as I go. Flying by the seat of my pants, as it were.

And this has worked for the aforementioned “Several” years now.

Still.

There’s a not-insignificant part of me, the part that enjoys making lists, planning out days and tasks, etc. that wonders (and has every week) why I don’t plan these things out beforehand.

This too would come with its own benefits. One being that it would likely take me less time to compose thee posts. The stream-of-consciousness method isn’t a constant stream. It’s more like a trickle, then a flood, back to a trickle, etc. If I came up with something to talk about beforehand, I know that my mind would simmer that idea on the mental back-burner over the course of the week, adding to it occasionally, until I had a more or less complete post. Then, come Sunday, I would simply transcribe it here and be done.

I may even have the post completed (Gasp) early and all I would need to do is schedule it to go up on Sunday morning.

Easy.

Both approaches have their merit. Ten minutes before I sat down, I had no idea what I was going to post about, and now look at it. Chasing an idea is one of the joys of writing.

Conversely, I’ve been at this long enough for my coffee to have grown cold. I could have spent more time during the week chasing the idea (as opposed to, say, scrolling through Twitter) and jotting down ideas. The same amount of idea chasing would have taken place, it just would have been spread out over time. Ideas would have had time to percolate (speaking of coffee, I’ve since had time to warm it up).

Again neither approach is superior to the other, and even that statement is couched in nothing more than my own experience. Your mileage may (and probably does) vary to some degree.

Maybe I’ll give plotting out next week’s post a shot – if I remember. I’ll be the first to tell you that my memory isn’t the steel trap it used to be.

Or maybe I won’t try to “Fix” what isn’t “Broken.”

But now that I’m thinking about it, though. I do love tinkering with a process to see if I can make it even more awesome.

And Chasing the Awesome is what it’s all about, isn’t it?

Thanks for reading.

Be safe out there. Be Excellent to Each other.

I’ll see you on Thursday.

###

Be sure to check out the Freebies Page for story Excerpts.

If you’ve read, and enjoyed any of my books, please consider leaving a review:

Weird Wild West

Trials

Predators in Petticoats

Posted in Writing | Tagged | Leave a comment

Five-Thing Thursday: April 15th.

Welcome, everyone to another installment of Five Thing Thursday and…

Here are Five Things I want you to Know:

Thing #1:  I don’t do Miles to Kilometers very well.

Thing #2:  Try not to borrow trouble. If you imagine the worst thing that could happen – and it does…then you’ve lived it twice.

Thing #3: I have a 2-inch long scratch on my arm – I have no idea how it got there.

Thing #4: This week’s Audio Landscape has been brought to you by… Unleash the Archers.

Thing #5: Simply walking to Mordor: This week I’ve walked 28.14 miles bringing my total to 62.02 miles from Bag-End. As the crow flies, I’ve reached Crickhollow, discovered that I am rubbish at keeping “Secret” Journeys from my friends, and have been run off by mysterious hooded figures on horseback – losing them in The Old Forest.

Copyright (c) Stuart Herbert Photography Blog | Twitter | Facebook

###

What am  I reading this week?

Grave Dance by Kalayna Price

Annihilation Aria by Michael R Underwood

A Crown of Swords (Wheel of Time Book 7) by Robert Jordan.

How have I been relaxing and refilling the well?

This…may not turn out to be such a good grilling weekend. We’ll see if we can dodge between bouts of rain.

###

Be sure to check out the Freebies Page for story Excerpts.

If you’ve read, and enjoyed any of my books, please consider leaving a review:

Weird Wild West

Trials

Predators in Petticoats

Chasing the Light

See you on Sunday!

Until then…

Be safe. Be Excellent to each other.

Posted in 5-Thing Thursday | Tagged | Leave a comment

Every Question is a Door.

Words have power.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog (Thanks!) you’ve certainly heard that from me. I’d wager that if you’re part of the writing community even at the most tangential level you’ve heard that somewhere before.

It’s a common concept in Fantasy: once you know the True Name of something you have a certain amount of power over that thing.

This post isn’t about that kind of power.

It’s about doors.

Every question is a door. And doors have a kind of power too: They can take you anywhere.

Tolkien wrote, “It’s a dangerous business, going out your door. You step out onto the road and, if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no telling where you might be swept off to.

You may suspect what lies beyond a particular question but, until you pass through, you won’t know for sure. Something that might seem simple – closet like – might turn out to be a portal to a world you’ve never seen before.

So be curious. Ask questions. Seek answers.

You never know where you’ll end up.

Thanks for reading.

Be safe out there. Be Excellent to Each other.

I’ll see you on Thursday.

###

Be sure to check out the Freebies Page for story Excerpts.

If you’ve read, and enjoyed any of my books, please consider leaving a review:

Weird Wild West

Trials

Predators in Petticoats

Posted in Inspiration | Tagged | Leave a comment