Skadi, my new malamute, is way over stimulated. She's convinced that if I sit in a chair or lie down on the couch, it's an invitation for her to go wild. Discouragement doesn't seem to work for her. So, I decided to do a bit more training and substitute a preferred behavior for her bad behavior. Since it appears that she goes wild whenever I am at her level (sitting down is at her level), the best idea was to substitute lying down when she comes up to me.
The first step was to start her with the clicker. She figured out the clicker really quick, and so I started running her through the commands I had already taught her. She knows sit and down. I started teaching her to lie down on her side. Then I sat down on the steps at her level and every time she started getting wild, I gave her the command to sit and then lie down. Only when she laid down did she receive a click and treat. We worked on that for several minutes. Then, I started working with her on heel. You wouldn't expect a crazy malamute to heel off leash, but by the end of it, she had gotten the basics of heel, sitting when I stopped, and finishing her sit.
What this tells me is that she's incredibly smart. I have an incredibly smart nearly 100 pound puppy. It's making me face palm as we speak. I'm going to have to work closely with her and Lachlan to make sure that they both learn commands and can perform tasks. Skadi's intelligence tells me that her behavior is largely due to boredom and overstimulation. She needs to do a job — whatever it may be. Normally, I would expect backpacking and maybe sledding to keep her occupied, but I've a feeling that she may need a lot of mental stimulation.
- Current Mood: exhausted
The past couple of weeks have been kind of crazy. We had to put down Mishka, our second white Malamute, due to the liver cancer that was ravaging her. We got the diagnosis almost 5 months ago, when she had lost some weight, but not nearly as much as she had lost by the time we put her down. I did everything I could to keep her going. It finally got too much where she was barely eating. Even raw meat wasn't enticing anymore. So I had to make a decision — one which sucked, actually.
That opened the door for us to find another female Malamute. We took a road trip to a shelter in Idaho which had an Alaskan Malamute. Actually, the Malamute was a giant Malamute from lines that can be mostly described as "puppy mill" lines. Even so, she was a beautiful seal and white long-haired Malamute. She was sold to an Idaho couple who were looking for a dog to travel with them in an RV. Now, I won't go into how inappropriate an Alaskan Malamute would be for that, especially in Alaskan Malamute as big as she is, but the fact that she ended up pretty much in the couple's backyard wasn't doing her any good. She had just turned a year the week before when the owners decided to drop her off in the shelter.
Skadi's original name was Misty, but she did not answer to it. We decided on Skadi who is the Norse goddess of hunting and winter. Skadi was originally a Frost giant who came to Asgard to demand the blood price for her father because the Aesir had killed him when they retrieved Idunn and her apples. She eventually married one of the Vanir and became the Norse goddess. Skadi is a fitting name for our new girl. Right now, she is wild and at 28 inches at the shoulder, she's a big girl. What's more, she is still growing — she has growth plates in her forelegs still. We're working with her and Lachlan to make sure that they will eventually get along.
Web of Wyrd
As for the Web of Wyrd, I have been working on it and it is a slow, tedious process. Part of it's because it's in bits and pieces. The other part is that I've written other books after I wrote parts of this book and not all of it works correctly. The good news is that I found portions of the book in other files. The reason why this is good is that it increases the overall size of the book I currently have written. I've also found portions that should probably expand upon in this book.
I also got a good idea to have Elsonre take a bigger role in this book. It will also set the stage of more conflict between him and Lachlan in later books. Oops, did I just drop a teaser there? For those who are keeping count, here's the meter for you:
Now, just back to writing.
- Current Mood: depressed
It's weird to think of an established author having trouble putting together a simple book, but that is exactly what has happened. No matter how many books and author has written, there is still one more that can plague him or her. I've been going through The Web of Wyrd and have pretty much determined why I stopped writing it many years ago.
It's not because the idea isn't sound — it is. It's not because I can't write it — I can. The book suffers from many faults and that almost 70,000 words, I've either got to revamp it or I have to toss it out. I don't think I'll toss it out. It has some good points to it, and I think that when I finally beat it into submission, it'll be a good book. It's just that right now it's a headache, but it's my headache.
Here are the basic problems that I see with The Web of Wyrd:
1. "The kitchen sink" syndrome — my writing seems to suffer from this a great deal. I tend to toss everything into the story, and then some. It's like stuffing 20 pounds worth of shit in a 5 pound bag. I think it's a tendency of a bored brain to start throwing in more crap than can possibly be resolved in 100,000 word novel. I did that with Runestone of Teiwas. I ended up having to simplify and cut out all whole bunch of crap that got rolled over into this book. The problem is, I tend to add even more stuff as I write, making the plot beyond complex.
2. Lack of a strong motivation. My hero, Lachlan, is plenty motivated in various ways, but he is not as driven as he needs to be. A lot of stuff happens, but it isn't necessarily plot. Never mistake motion for action, said Ernest Hemingway. He's damn right. Action, that is movement within a plot, isn't always defined by motion. My hero, Lachlan, must have a strong motivation to move the plot along.
3. No real clever twist yet. My DH in a fit of not wanting to hear me whine about my book told me that saving the universe wasn't enough — and was downright boring, actually. I could see his point, even if the words were a little on the blunt side. There isn't enough of a twist to the plot to make it intriguing enough.
4. No real elixir defined. In the hero's journey, there needs to be a quest for an elixir. This elixir is what the hero is searching for that will bring about the climax. In Prophecy of Swords, the elixir was Uruz. Along with Uruz, the elixir was the knowledge of who Shadowhelm really was. In Runestone of Teiwas, the elixir was Kalena as well as unlocking the power of Hagalaz. I know damn straight the elixir isn't quite as clearly defined.
So, my next job is to try to figure out where I am taking all of this. I have been writing, just not as much as I should. I swear though, I am going to get this book done.
- Current Mood: annoyed
The Web of Wyrd sits at about 68,000 words. Actually, it's more, but for the sake of argument, that's where it sits. It needs a minimum of 30,000 more words for it to be a real book. I've had to look at it as a quest story because it needs good structure. I have a feeling that I still have to work on the elixir of the book to have a proper novel.
So, I've been going through it, and trying to find the inconsistencies from the other books. It's kind of funny to run into old thought patterns and where I was going with it when I wrote this book oh so many years ago. The irritating part is that this book was still part of my pantzer phase where I was literally trying to write by the seat of my pants. I think I ran out of steam with this book because I didn't know what else to put into it. That's why The Jotunn Gate sprung out of this. As a writer, a more likely to throw in everything, including the kitchen sink. But, it is really more harmful than helpful in the long run.
I think understanding the basic plot structure helps immensely when it comes to writing. I plot, not because I enjoy it, but because I feel that it is necessary at least for me. So, I'm giving The Web of Wyrd another shot. Right now, it's in a form that would make your head spin. I think I just have to knuckle down and start writing the rest of the book. Once I have it together, it will probably fall into place. Maybe.
- Current Mood: determined
Tonight I'm getting a big formatting job done from Fiverr, which means I'll have hit my monetary goal for this week. The CMA customer that is giving me the regular content mill work will help ensure quite a bit of that for a while. On top of that, the another place I'm working for (I'll call CMB) gave me a bunch of editing jobs. While they aren't particularly high paying, they are enjoyable enough to do and I don't have to pound on the keyboard with them. Add to that CMA has another client who has ongoing, high-paying work. The result is that I have 8 pieces due at CMA in the next two days plus a dozen editing gigs from CMB, plus more work coming in from another client at CMA.
I do have one gig after the big formatting gig on Fiverr, which is fine. Basically, it's another resume and a cover letter. Those I can do in a short time, maybe an hour. I push out the time to three days because, when I have a lot of work to do, I can't promise getting it to in a day. My other gigs with other content mills are going to have to wait as three shops are giving me enough work for the next several days.
It All Comes Down to Priorities
I have four other content shops that I look for work at when all else fails. DAS is one that while the pay is good, they cause far more stress than I need because of their editorial policies. But if I need work and they have articles, I'm not proud. Another content shop, CMC, usually has work, but it can be low-paying. Still, I have one client who appears from time to time to give me a direct assignment. The content shop I'll call CMD has ridiculously easy assignments, but clients can reject it easily as well, leaving you to hang until another client comes along that need similar content. CMD has a set rate, which makes them both useful and fun, but you can't rely on when the client will accept and publish the work. The fourth one of the group, I'll call CME. As far as I can tell, they have very low-paying jobs and very few of them. There's another content shop that I haven't mentioned which I will call CMU. I've given up on them because even though I'm rated for their work, they never seem to have anything in my specialty, nor have I been accepted for any other categories. I noticed that they use writers to decide who works in what categories. As a result, I suspect if a writer thinks you're a competitor, they won't accept you.
The other work I have is Hubpages. Since Yahoo groups shut down, I took my content and am slowly putting up on Hubpages. You can check out my articles HERE. I still don't have everything up, but I don't mind putting up content there.
The Jotunn Gate
A huge problem I've been running into with The Jotunn Gate is that it has many holes in its structure. I'd like to say that every time I nailed down a problem I'm finished and I can write, but the reality is the plot were a cheese, it be Swiss. At first I really didn't have a good idea as to the antagonist. That happened because I've realized the book is actually three books. Then, I realized that the plot wasn't really working the way it needed to. So, I've been struggling with that. Then, I started reading Save the Cat! Although it's written for screenplay writing, it makes a lot of sense for books as well. I started realizing if I wanted to write a decent epic fantasy, I still had to follow some valid plot points. Some, I forgot due to sheer frustration of having and unwieldy manuscript. So, I've been using the plotting section of Writer's Café to hammer out The Jotunn Gate.
- Current Location:In the command chair
- Current Mood:exhausted
- Current Music:Everybody Wants to Rule the World
Bane Wilson has been the owner of 25011 Wallace Creek Road, Clinton, Montana since 2012, choosing the mining claim as his home after scouring three states to find a suitable place to live out his twilight years. The mining claim dates to around 1900 and is interspersed with other mining claims and Federal land. Bane Wilson’s claim is sandwiched between BLM and Montana state lands. Currently, there is no other way to access the claims in this area which requires a minimum of 16 miles roundtrip to the nearest grocery store in Clinton to obtain supplies. This includes a 2000-foot elevation change that must now be traveled on foot according to the Montana DNRC. Bane Wilson currently lives in a small travel trailer on his land with just his old, dilapidated pickup for transportation that often breaks down. Neither he nor the other landowners have caused undue damage to the road or the land surrounding it.
The DNRC’s sudden interest in a little-known road came about due to the Dirty Donovan timber sale. Many Clinton residents were supportive of the timber sale and were unaware of the DNRC’s plans to permanently close the road. Bane Wilson and the other claim owners received their “eviction notices” late in 2014. It was not until the DNRC posted signs for foot traffic only did many residents have an inkling as to what was in store for the only access to those mining claims.
When contacting the Montana DNRC, Bane Wilson claims that the woman he spoke to was rude and gave him no options. What makes this closure potentially unlawful is that the claims have been in existence before the DNRC and state trust lands. The DNRC in the past has never closed the gate on the road that leads to the mining claims because it was unlawful to do so according to an FWP warden.
Currently, Bane Wilson and the other landowners have few options:
• Abandon his home and truck on his property.
• Remove his home and gear, never to return them to the property.
• Obtain right of way across BLM and private property, then build a road through steep, heavily-wooded gullies to reach the next nearest public road. A project that one local contractor estimates would cost between $50,000 and $100,000 for the equipment alone.
“Many residents in Clinton use that road to access what would normally be inaccessible lands to recreate and to hunt on,” says Maggie Bonham, award-winning author and publisher of Sky Warrior Books. “Many people here use this land to fill their freezers during hunting time and are subsistence, or close to subsistence, hunters. Without this access, the entire area has been effectively closed off to generations of Montanans between the Montana DNRC closing and the closing of the roads by the Nature Conservancy. Poor Bane has no choice but to walk nearly twenty miles round-trip in all kinds of weather just to get a sack of groceries.”
- Current Mood: angry
We've got a couple of anthologies in the works now. One of them is on fairy folk. The other is a steampunk anthology. Oddly enough, we seem to attract those in steampunk.
The long-awaited release of S.A. Bolich's sequel to The Mask of God, known as The Mark of God, is currently available as an e-book and will soon be available in trade paperback. It features artwork by Peter Bradley.
Up-and-Coming Releases June , 2015
- Current Mood: tired
What's Been Going on at Sky Warrior Books
Thanks to DH, S. A. Bolich's Mark of God has gone through the final proof edit and I should be getting it ready for e-book and print in the next week. We have a cover that is workable thanks to Peter Bradley. As usual, Peter has done a great job. I'll try to get the new cover up so you can take a gander at it.
The Viking-themed/Heathen-themed anthology, No Horns on These Helmets, is getting closer to reality. I'm halfway done through the basic formatting. I had planned on having a story in it, but lack of inspiration and lack of time caught up with me. I do have a story partially written which isn't too bad, but it is a little odd. Okay, it's a lot odd. Steampunk Vikings. And that's all I have to say about that. No Horns on These Helmets has some awesome artwork by KS Augustine. I'm really quite pleased with how it turned out.
Adrienne Dellwo's Through the Veil is now in proofs and she has been working on her own cover. It's been looking pretty good.
Needs More Automation
One of the things I've been bitching about has been lack of time and the inability to clone myself. I've tried to automate a bunch of work. Because of this, I realize that I still have a lot to do even with the automation. I've started offloading work on other people who are willing to take it. This still doesn't mean that I don't have enough work to do. I'd like your opinion on software and other automation that helps you get things done.
I've gone with HootSuite to handle posting when I can't be on social media. I'm using private boards/forums for communication to my authors because email is such a mess. I actually use Paper.li for part of the communication to my Twitter base so that I can find more people on Twitter who would be interested in our works. I have to start getting our email list back on track, which is a bit of a headache. Going to try to solicit ideas from the authors and maybe get some information from them that would be good to go in a promotional email.
On Tap Tonight
I have one article I have to at least work on because it's due early tomorrow. I have five pieces of work I have to get done with Fiverr, two which are due tomorrow.
- Current Location:In the command chair
- Current Mood: exhausted
- Current Music:cat purring
Well, I always know when it's daylight savings time. Mainly because I feel like crap. Last night, I had forgotten that we'd lose an hour, so when I came back from the barn, I saw that it was actually three something instead of two something. I still had a freakin' article to write because of my overall lack of enthusiasm for work due to the stupid cold that's been hanging on. So today, I feel like someone took a sledgehammer to me.
On a brighter note, I did get it done. I still have two articles out there with questions to the clients. It's annoying to have those hanging out there, but I really have no choice. One of them I think the client had no idea how much work is entailed for a 14 point blog. After getting to 660 words, I realized after covering only seven points that need to be twice the size of the client have requested. So they're in for a rude shock.
Going through Final Edits for Through the Veil
I'm finally getting to Adrienne's final edits for her book, Through the Veil. It actually reads fairly well and I'm going through it for a final check before I start formatting it. I know Adrienne will be very happy to hear that the book is coming along. I know she's been talking about covers, but will wait and see on what she comes up with.
Working on The Jotunn Gate
I have to still work on the third book of The Swords of Destiny series. The book is in pieces and I'm still flailing around with it. At some point, I'm going to get something that looks like a book together. Thanks to Sarah Mueller, I actually have a direction I need to go. Just not sure how to get there, and so I end up flailing around.
It's a Goat Rope
Skittles has been doing very well and has been figuring out the general routine of coming up here at night in getting crated. He's a noisy little goat, which makes it annoying when we first bring him in. Giving him his milk tends to settle him down a bit, but I have to be really careful to not disturb him or he screams like a banshee. Still, he's good at riding on the ATV up from the barn.
- Current Location:anywhere but here
- Current Mood: drained