Another Completed Puzzle Post . . . It’s Been a While

Not sure how long it’s . . . September?  Wow.  It has been a long time since I showed this hobby off.  I have 10 here too.  Guess this is everything I completed over the course of the school year.  Let’s get right to it.

Clearly this is Pokemon.  I found this on a clearance rack and figured I’d get it to work on as I eased into a really rough school year.  I think it has all of the Eevee evolutions too, which was cool.

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Marvel villains!  This was one of the two puzzles where I found pieces missing, which is another reason it took so long to make another post.  The company was able to send me a replacement for this one, but the other (1960’s Batman) was no longer being made.  At least one got finished.

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Detective Pikachu!  I worked on this while I waited for the other puzzle.  It was harder than it looked because of the fur and brick patterns.  So many pieces looked like they would go in the same spot.

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I always enjoyed Disney’s Robin Hood.  So, I had to get this one from Target.  It was a slight headache early on because the box cover picture had different proportions than the puzzle, so I had to adjust.

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Dragons.  Gotta love dragons.

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I’ve had this Harley Quinn one sitting in my closet for a while.  It was fun to make even when I was scratching my head about the background and skin pieces.

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Dinosaurs, which was a pain.  The picture was a lot clearer than the pieces, so I had trouble figuring out where things went.  The sky pieces were very similar too.  There were several times when I had to move edge pieces around because they were in the wrong place from the start.  Still not sure I got it all right.

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This was a cool artistic one that I found.  It had the challenge of being so colorful that I couldn’t work by sections.  There was no way to pick out everything that went into one spot and work on it, so I just had to sift through the box and try pieces everywhere.

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Space . . . Star fields are a nightmare for me when it comes to puzzles.  I really need to learn my lesson here.

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This one is framed because I’m putting it on my son’s wall.  Unfortunately, I took the picture after I framed it.  So, there’s a reflection/glare on this.  Oops.

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Goal Post: Yes, I Know Half a Step is Still Progress

Of course, I caught my son’s cold, so my head is feeling clogged.  At least it’s just a cold, but I didn’t need this on top of everything else.  This week ended up being very stressful even though I can’t point my finger a specific source.  If I had to guess, it would be a collection of various things.

There was a running gag of things coming up and costing me writing time.  Errands, chores, frustrations, and other events kept getting dropped in my lap.  So, I only got 2.5 chapters of Darwin & the Fate Bracelet done.  That’s less than what I planned, but I gave up Friday to resting up and preparing for the weekend.  So, I only had 4 days to write, but I still should have gotten farther.  Too many people think I’m just sitting around waiting to be handed something to do.  It’s exhausting.

As long as I get some writing done over the weekend and next week isn’t too bad, I should finish this book before my son is done with camp.  That’s the main goal here.  He has two weeks left and I’ve got 8 chapters to go.  Doing the ‘3 sections a day’ count, I could finish by middle of his last week of camp.  That’s if I’m not bombarded by people thinking I’m at their beck and call.  No wonder it’s easy to be an author when you’re either a kid or a retired.  At least, in my life it seems to be that way.

It wasn’t just writing that took a hit too.  I tried really hard to do biking every day, but it got ridiculous.  If I’m trying to get to it for an hour and failing then my motivation to do it after the chaos is gone.  It becomes a mentality of ‘what’s the fucking point’ since people seem to actively through me off.  One issue here is that I use my phone for music while biking, so barrages of texts start bugging me.  Many end up being questions from people who start sending more if I don’t respond within a few minutes.  Makes me wish I still had a working iPod, but that era has passed.

On the plus side of the week, my son turned 12 and we have the party coming up.  It was a simple dinner outing because he had camp for the day.  His mother and I have to split his birthdays, so these situations mean one gets dinner and the other dessert.  He was happy because he got to order off the adult menu.  Although, he couldn’t get free ice cream with the meal, but we got some to bring home for the next night.  Sometimes simplicity is better than extravagant stuff.  Even the party today is simple because he only wants to play with friends and have fun.  Don’t need to drop tons of money for that . . . Don’t ask how much I’m paying for pizza here.

I finished the September blog posts, so that’s off the list.  Means the blog is scheduled from now until end of November.  Sort of.  I don’t have much in October because I haven’t done the Windemere Monster poll or the Monster Maker volunteer posts.  Those will be coming in August, so I might work on them before I go back to work.

Can’t think of anything else going on around here.  It wasn’t an exciting week.  Started watching an old anime called ‘Crest of the Stars’.  I remember liking it when I was in college.  It’s about an alien species having conquered the stars, including human regions and a war brewing.  Many characters are a human citizen of the alien empire and one of their princesses.  It’s not heavy on action.  Much more character and dialogue driven, which isn’t bad.  I lose track of things at times because I start dozing off from fatigue or get too into texting, but I figure stuff out quick enough.  Definitely an anime requiring full attention instead of watching with mild distractions.

Goals of the week?

  1. Sleep!
  2. Son’s birthday party.
  3. Pick up presents for son since they were pre-ordered.
  4. Write more Darwin & the Fate Bracelet
  5. Get a few CD’s for road trip.
  6. Biking.
  7. Notebook work if no time for book.
  8. Write another goal post.
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Those Tempting Distractions

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A twinkle to the side
Drawing your attention
Away from progress
But
It’s so enticing
Like the noises
That one needs to explore
Scents
Calling you to wander
Flickering thoughts
And expected errands
Distractions
Born from the ether
To hamper advancement
And gnaw
At your deadlines
You must refuse
Their siren song
That dances along your senses

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Immortal Wars: Light, Blood, & Tears Part 23

(Disclaimer: A warning to those who continue.  This is a sequel to a previous story.  Both of these were written in the mid-1990’s.  While the first one was slightly edited and vanity press published, this one has not been touched in over 20 years.  I figure I should do something with it and people may get a laugh or fright from how I used to be.  Every author comes from somewhere, so this is part of my origin.  To that end, I am deeply sorry for whatever nightmares I will inflict on the literary world and the American English language.  Enjoy?)

PREVIOUS ENTRY CLICK HERE

A small, still used, orphanage outside New York City is where the other two evil immortals have been since they left Fate’s hometown.  Their illegal entrance was unknown until an elderly janitor found them sneaking through the dark hallways.  Tegam left him alive, but they both know that the police can arrive at any moment.  So they are very nervous when it takes Adriana two hours of looking through old, handwritten files to find what she wants.

“I don’t believe it.  It’s him.  Now, I know where I’ve heard Edward Slane’s name before,” whispers Adriana while trying very hard to keep her voice down.

“Care to enlighten me?  But first, I suggest you tell me what will happen when the cops show up,” says Tegam, who is keeping a watch out the window.  He can barely make out the sound of distant sirens.

“Absolutely nothing.  There are sleeping children in this building that can get in the way.  That is why I left the window open and why we’re sitting in plain sight of the street.  We’ll just play dead once we get shot a couple times and walk out of the morgue later.  After scaring that old man and nearly killing him, those cops are definitely going to come in shooting.  Especially, if Draveon and Cybro have made an appearance.  Those two are not the most subtle.”

“Good point.  Nobody has to get hurt.”

“I didn’t say that.  No children should get hurt in the crossfire, but the cops are a different story.  Are you getting soft, Tegam?”

“Soft?  No.  I, um.  I just assumed that was what you meant.  Now, about Mr. Slane.  What did you find in those files?”

Adriana sits on the desk and faces the open window before answering, “I’ll give you the details when we’re in the morgue.  Let’s just say that I was watching him for a few years since he was born.  Something about the baby told me that he would become extremely important in my life.  Actually, Startrix told me he would.  But when his parents died, I sort of lost track of the kid.  Let’s leave it at that because some of the needed parts are still a little . . . fuzzy in my head.”

“You’re not telling me everything you remember, Adriana.  Spill it or I’ll leave you here by yourself.”

“Not now.  I’ll tell you the rest of what I know later.  I promise.”

“I’m looking forward to it.  Right now, we have that annoying problem of several cops around the building.  Take a look down there.  You might find it on the verge of interesting.”

Adriana looks outside the window in time to feel a hot bullet slam into her forehead.  After two slow seconds, she realizes what has just happened and topples backwards.  When she looks up, the blond immortal sees Tegam’s chest get riddled with bullets.  She lets out a few, small laughs while blood keeps flowing out of her head wound.  It takes a lot of effort for her to prevent the wound from healing.

“Is this pain really necessary?  We could easily sneak out through the vents.  I’ll even settle for the sewers.  It might be a very dirty and smelly place, but at least it’s painless,” whispers Tegam through gritted teeth.  Bullets are still flying through the window and pelt the wall.

“We could, but we won’t.  Anyway, it’s too late now.  So, shut up and play dead.  Got any aspirin?  This really hurts,” Adriana replies as she watches blood continue to drip down her face.  Her smile is surprisingly pleasant considering the piece of metal lodged in her brain.  As an after thought, Adriana clutches her healing staff as hard as she can, so it can’t easily be taken away from her.

“Pain killers?  You should have thought of that before you made this plan.  That is if anyone can call this act of utter stupidity a plan.  Those cops are still shooting at us even though they can’t see us.”

“They might have run across Hydrana, Draveon, or Cybro.  Since they probably showed that they could take more damage than one bullet, the police probably think the same thing of us.”

“How can they make any connection between the five of us?  We haven’t been seen together in public yet.”

“Gee, I don’t know.  Five powerful entities of destruction running around in comic book-like costumes at the exact same time is never a coincidence.  Hold on.  I just thought of something.  Do you have any idea how to make them believe that we’re really dead?  They are definitely going to check us for a pulse or breathing.”

“For myself, I can make those particular functions invisible to them.  But I don’t think I would have to do that for you.  It looks like you really are dying since you won’t let your body heal itself,” whispers the prankster with a deep, concerned voice.

“Nonsense,” she replies while the bullets finally stop coming through the open window.

“Look, Adriana.  This is going to sound stupid.  But isn’t it dangerous for us to take this amount of damage and not let our bodies heal it.  Even if the damage is from mortals?”

“Nah.  We can’t be killed or even be scarred by these uniformed geeks.  I doubt that we’ll even . . .pass. . .out. . .  Damn.  I. . . hate. . .being. . .wrong.”  Tegam watches in mild amusement as Adriana’s glassy eyes roll back and she passes out from severe blood lose.

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Cover Reveal: Moonwalking

Yes, I’m still alive! An editing project kept me extremely busy. But I’m here to reveal the cover of my good friend Lyn Miller-Lachmann’s upcoming …

Cover Reveal: Moonwalking
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7 Tips to Recharging Your Battery

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The quote really says it all.  I’ve been running myself down repeatedly over the last couple of months . . . years.  The pressure and fatigue build up then become harder to eliminate because you can’t carve out enough time to do it.  The greater the exhaustion, the longer the vacation that you need.  Although, we don’t really do vacations right because those always result in stress.  So, what can we do?

  1. Don’t be afraid to take a mental health day if you need it.  We’re made to feel guilty about this and we worry about the work building up.  So, try to settle assignments the day before you plan on your recovery day to minimize the stress that will greet you at the door.  Make sure not to do work or run around the entire time.  Get some errands done, but take time to rest and replenish your strength.
  2. Low key hobbies like puzzles, reading, painting, and anything else that doesn’t cause you to go running around.  While exercise and sports can give you a boost, it doesn’t hurt to have a few things to do when your body is rough shape.  This prevents you from sleeping the day away, which can throw off your sleep pattern and make you stress over not being productive.
  3. Keep healthy snacks in the room you are more likely to be in.  This reduces the times you go to the kitchen in search of food and grab things that might be too heavy or unhealthy.  Nuts and dried fruit are my personal favorites.  As I said, this doesn’t and shouldn’t stop you entirely, but the snacks help take the edge off.   This means you will grab less from the kitchen too when you go there.
  4. SLEEP!  This is very important and difficult for many people.  Biggest point here is that you can never really make up lost sleep.  If you only get 4 hours one night then you’re not going to sleep 12.  Best to do is take measures to improve your sleep such as weighted blankets, keeping the room comfortable, sleep apnea devices if needed, and making sure you have good pillows.  You won’t regain the lost hours, but you will regain your energy for the future.
  5. If your energy is being drained by thoughts and worries then find somebody to talk to.  It helps to drag such things into the light where they can be analyzed and seen for the sniveling parasites that they are.  You can talk to a therapist if you have the option or maybe you have at least one friend who is always there to listen.  Don’t recommend finding a complete stranger to vent to.  That could be awkward.
  6. Drink water!  Seltzer works too.  Seriously, why do I drink cold water and feel like it’s hitting every cell of my body?
  7. Go outside without technology.  If you bring your phone then only use it as a camera for cool stuff.  No social media posting until you get home.  Just find a place to walk around and be left with your own thoughts.  Parks are great if you’re a suburbanite like me.  Other people have forests and various swaths of nature at their fingertips.  Lucky bastards.
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Teaser Tuesday: Fizzle the Sneaky Spy

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Rounding out the July winners is Fizzle the Drite.  The picture doesn’t go with the cute character, but he had one of his best scenes here.  Legends of Windemere: The Compass Key is where I boosted his presence in the series.  Prior to that, he was a side character that faded away as things progressed.  Glad that’s not how it turned out because he’s a lot of fun to write.

Continue reading

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Curse of the Chapter 3

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Disclaimer:  I actually misread my note that said ‘Ch. 3 Curse’.  I thought I meant to make a post about curses that come in 3’s, which I thought was odd.  So, I got the above picture and sat down to realize I read the thing wrong.  Oops.  Funny little side story there, but on to the big event.

I have a problem with Chapter 3’s.  Not counting the prologue, I always seem to trip up or slow down immensely at Chapter 3.  The 3rd book of a series too.  This has been happening since high school and it’s weird.  I noticed other people talk about having similar issue though, so decided to think more about my issue.  Then I forgot about it and mistook this for a post about magic . . . Give me a minute.

Chapter 3 hits bumps regardless of the notes and outlines.  I have to take breaks, look back at the earlier stuff, and check for what’s going on far ahead.  This doesn’t happen with the other chapters.  At least to the extent that it does here, which results in my pacing getting horribly thrown off.  I typically have to take a day to recover from this because it leaves me scratching my head.  Other times, I have to triple check my outline to see if all parts are still viable.  Occasionally, this happens later on.  Strange thing is that I noticed it happens on chapters 6, 9, or 12.  Why is this?

I think the answer lies in the following word:  TRANSITION

From what I can tell, I use Chapter 3’s and multiples of 3 as transition points from one set piece to the other.  It happens at other chapters, but I may be more consistent in using this pattern:

  1. Prologue sets up everything, so it doesn’t count.
  2. Chapter 1 introduces at least one main character, their life, and adventure beginning.
  3. Chapter 2 is where things begin to push the characters on the story path.
  4. Chapter 3 is where things explode into action and events move forward.
  5. Chapter 4 is character coming to grips with events or pushing ahead with the first challenge.
  6. Chapter 5 is continuing with that challenge or facing a new one.
  7. Chapter 6 may be where you have a character-growth interlude or move to another area.

I build things up to the 3rd chapter, which is where things come together and a lot of foreshadowing/propelling occurs.  It involves several characters, plot points, and changes to juggle in order to make the story flow.  The original flow can’t remain because events have to jog the serenity that I typically start with.  It also can’t stay at a rapid pace because characters might not grow and audiences can become desensitized.  This turns Chapter 3 into a pivot point where the story turns in direction.

This is an issue that I’ve known about for years, but never thought about until right now.  I hope figuring this out and writing about it helps me make things easier going forward.  Got a feeling that it won’t do much.  Looking at the first Tales of the Slumberlord outline already makes me feel like history will repeat itself.  Maybe that’s a big part of being an author.  Those quirky habits that stick around regardless of what you do to get rid of them.

So, have you noticed any unique patterns in your writing flow like chapters that are always difficult to write?

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Volunteers Needed for September New Release

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Funny story.  I’ve been toiling away at setting up blog posts, working, parenting, dealing with drama, and starting a new series that I forgot something.

‘War of Nytefall: Anarchy’

So, I just wrote a bumbling announcement for August 30th to kick off a month of promos that I haven’t designed yet.  You’d think I would remember this book since I finished editing it about 2 weeks ago.  I’m not on the ball here, but I can’t hold off on publishing until life settles down.  It hasn’t done so since December 2018 and I see no reason things will change in the next 5 years.  Pessimistic?  Maybe.  Still, why delay things . . . I’m just rambling now.

As usual, I’m hoping to get people willing to post a promo on their blog.  Not sure what else I can do here with my barely there funds, so this is all I’ve got.  Any volunteers would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you.

Please comment below to let me know if you’re willing to post a promo.

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Goal Post: I Knew It!

I should put this quote somewhere in my room.  It really symbolizes the week where things kept going off the rails.  Don’t worry.  Today isn’t going to be any better.  Neither will next week and weekend.  So, hold your wishes for things to be calmer for August.  Better chance of them coming true then.

The big goal was to write Darwin & the Fate Bracelet, which I started doing last Sunday.  I posted part of his debut, which most people liked.  Then, things began going screwy with finding writing time.  I had hoped to do 6-7 chapters.  I expected 3-4 because I knew something would happen.  It was 3-4 since things KEPT HAPPENING.  Unexpected request to do things on Monday cost me time.  Chaos with my son and an appointment Tuesday evening cost me on Tuesday.  My own appointment and somebody setting off a major panic attack cost me on Wednesday.  Thursday was the only day where I got all 3 chapter sections down.  Friday was a wash because my son had to stay home from camp, so I’m writing this at noon in case I can get one section done tonight.

What else went wrong?  Well, the good news is that I heard from my cover artist and the last two War of Nytefall covers are coming along.  This reminded me that I was going to release the next book around Labor Day.  I already filled September with posts that have nothing to do with the series.  Crud.  Spent an hour moving all of them to November and then an evening coming up with promo post ideas.  Been working hard on writing them up when I can’t get to the book.  I kept stumbling onto posts that didn’t get moved and everything became a mess for September and November.  October just standing there having no idea what’s going on around it.  Figured I’d finish the headache and posted the last of ‘Immortal Wars: Light, Blood, & Tears’, which ends on December 9th.  No idea what to do with Thursdays after that.  Maybe I’ll grab a random quote, post it, and write an opinion about it.

Been watching the news a bit too.  Mostly, I’m trying to get a sense how the upcoming school year is going to go.  Tired of masks, but I’m not throwing mine out until the coast is definitely clear.  Know too many people who aren’t vaccinated and run around without masks either saying the threat is over or claiming to have had the shots.  It worries me a lot because I trust people even less now.  It doesn’t help that I see people walking around without masks and wiping their noses with their hands as if it’s a hobby they’re finally getting back to.  So, I’m guessing masks are going to be coming back and there’s going to be an uproar.  Just going to do whatever I have to do to be safe and hope this thing ends in my lifetime.

Well, that was nearly political.

I started watching ‘Record of Ragnarok’ because I wanted a mindless fighting anime to put on when I needed a rest.  This wasn’t it.  The plot is about the gods of all pantheons wanting to wipe out humanity, but Brunhilde the Valkyrie convinced them to hold the Ragnarok contest.  13 mortals vs 13 gods (all men, I want to point out) with the first group getting to 7 being the winner.  I don’t like it.  The intros for the fighters are longer than the actual combat.  Fighters will clash, push against each other, and then you get either a flashback or audience conversations for 5 minutes.  It’s just backstory and talking with ultimate moves through in to be transition points.  Honestly, I’d say this was the worst thing I’ve heard of this week if it wasn’t for another show I was going to watch, read reviews, and developed a seething rage.  Won’t go into it because I’ve noticed it’s a show that is protected on social media from criticism.

Next week is my son’s birthday.  He’s hitting the big 1-2.  He also has a Mets game he’s going to with his camp.  The big birthday party is next weekend, so I’ll be busy trying to get that set up.  I hope it’s big because the RSVP stuff has been confusing.  We’re either having tons of people requiring 10 pizzas or a handful requiring 5.  Got a feeling I’ll be eating pizza for weeks, which will test my love of the food.  As long as my son has a good time and is happy.

There isn’t much else to say about next week.  I’m going to be taking the blows as they come because it’s going to be chaotic.  This isn’t pessimism.  It’s a gut feeling based on what’s happened recently.  I’m not really sure how to make a goal post on this one because I’m scared to get my hopes up.  Well, I’ll give it a shot.

  1. Birthday time with son.
  2. Write more of Darwin & the Fate Bracelet.  Hoping for another 4 chapters.
  3. Notebook work if nothing else can be done.
  4. Finish the September promo posts.
  5. Finish watching ‘Record of Ragnarok’.
  6. Find something to watch that I won’t regret.
  7. Keep the demon at bay.
  8. Take a nap.
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