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Way too busy

Yesterday I worked my ass off. Not because I particularly wanted to, but because I actually had a bunch of jobs that piled up in a short while. One is off of a site I'll call CMA. The customer is nice enough to have some 4000 pieces to get done, of which, when split between 15 writers means more than 250 articles for each writer. It means (knock wood) enough work for a while, but it also means major insanity every day when the work comes in. We get five each and can only pick up more when we're done with the five. I got the work on Sunday, was out Monday, which meant that I had to get it all done Tuesday. So, I was writing 3100 to 3200 words in 5 hours.  It ended up being about an article an hour, counting breaks, which wasn't too bad. Then, I had two gigs on Fiverr to take care of. The result was the typical lack of sleep, but being a bit less poor.

Scheduling Work

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.

Montana DNRC Bars Combat Veteran from Home

Montana Department of Natural Resources (DNRC) is closing down a century-old mining road to all vehicular traffic and demanding that landowners abandon vehicles or remove them from their land. This unfortunate situation has stranded 67-year-old, Vietnam combat veteran, Bane Wilson, from his home where he planned to retire and live out his life.

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.”
As usual, things have been crazy here at Sky Warrior Books. Right now, I'm working to get some books on the schedule, such as The Dragon's Hoard, Zombiefied: Hazardous Material, Through the Veil, Gate of Souls, and other books. We are all caught up with royalty statements and should get the final payouts or contributor copies to the couple of authors still due by the end of the month. Royalties for the second half of last year will come out as per contract after the royalty accumulation period, which is when we finally accumulate the monies from our distributors. Obviously, we have to get paid before we can pay anyone.

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.

New Releases


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

Crash Time and Crunch Time

Today sucked big-time.  I was tired from several early-morning bedtimes due to too much freakin' work and I believe it just caught up with me. Most of my work has had to do with some content mills, but I've also been busy with getting books out.

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.


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.

This afternoon I took pictures of our newest buckling, whom I've named Skittles. He's actually quite a cute little guy. I went ahead and vaccinated him and our youngest doeling, Wingnut. Neither of them were very happy to get vaccinated. It's really kind of funny, but Wingnut is younger than he is, but because she is part Boer, she is getting bigger every day.



This is Skittles^^^^^^



This is Wingnut ^^^^^

Yeah, it's dreadfully muddy since the snow melted. Right now, Skittles is having little bit of problems
fitting in with the herd, but he is young and isn't weaned yet. So I'm really not surprised by it. Give him some time and the girls will change their mind, especially during rut.

Work Completed

Today I worked on a bunch of articles I needed to get done. I ended up writing four blog posts and a review. It still wasn't enough, but that's just what I got done. I figure I got about 1500 words written. Oh well, tomorrow is another day.

On Tap for Today

Content Mills

Today I have a bunch of things I have to get done. First on my list is getting a quickie blog post done for Fiverr. I've had some luck with this new site. Even though getting paid only five bucks at a time sounds like it doesn't make any sense, I found that by offering a basic service for five dollars and then upgrading with more money is actually useful. (For those who really want to check out one of my gigs, you can see them HERE at Fiverr. Hell, you can even hire me, if you're so inclined.)

I have four articles to get done with one content mill. I also have another article that needs to get done with another mill. That plus some work from the ubiquitous Demand Studios should make my quota for the day.

Sky Warrior Books

On the Sky Warrior Book front, I should be finishing my story for No Horns on These Helmets and get the book into the right format. I have to start working on Zombiefied 3 and getting that into publication. I also have Adrienne Dellwo's book to finish editing and to do her cover art. I need to find another editor for Verna McKinnon's book, preferably a light editor. After looking at all the work I have to do, it really makes sense for me to have another editor take a look at it. I also have to check out which John Dalmas book we want to publish next. I have an editor for that, but like anything, I have only so many hours in the day.

Farm Critters

We named little buckling Skittles because he's a bit skittery. Last night, I discovered he really wasn't completely weaned, although his former owner didn't claim he was either. I gave him a bottle of milk this morning after he was screaming for food. He chugged it down. He had eaten the hay I'd given him the night before.

I'll try to get some pictures of him today and post them here and on my Facebook account. I've also got to give one of my turkeys another antibiotic injection. He's got some sort of respiratory thing and I failed to give him his shot yesterday.

And so my life goes for today. If I haven't mentioned any of the other many things I need to do for the publishing company, it's on the list, I just haven't gotten around to it. If somebody can clone me, I think I could make everybody happy.

Tough Day

Today I made a tough decision along with my DH. Sam the cat who adopted us some eight years ago, I think, but who really didn't become my cat (because he belonged to the neighbor) until about seven years ago or so, had been losing weight and he had lost about a third of his total weight. It really didn't matter how much we fed him, and in the past couple of days he wouldn't really eat, even when I offered him tunafish. So we brought him to the vet, and had to deal with whether or not he should be put down. I know that the former owners of the house had gotten him before they built our house, so that put Sam in his 20s.

If he were a younger cat, I might have considered putting them through tests and other treatments, but the reality was we could probably gain may be a year's worth of time. While that is somewhat beneficial, I was concerned about his quality of life. He sort of helped me make the decision when I was petting him and he started growling at me. Then, he took my hand in his mouth as a threat to bite. His hips hurt. His shoulders hurt. The vet said he had one atrophied kidney. We suspected he was hyperthyroid. And he was refusing to eat. I finally made the heart-wrenching decision with my DH to put Sam down. It was something I expected, but then you never really do expect to have to make a decision that isn't exactly clear cut.

A New Addition

The way to the vet, we had to stop briefly to pick up a baby buckling goat. Basically, this woman out in Plains was selling mini LaManchas and the price for this buckling was right. She was also in the area and so she brought the little guy for us to pick up. He's a little young to be away from mom and putting him in with the herd was a little traumatic for him, but in time, I have the feeling he'll do just fine. My current buck, Oreo, has bred my does for three years. I have his daughters who have no suitable boyfriends. So I need new genetics. This little guy is actually three quarters full size LaMancha and one quarter Nigerian dwarf. He may be a little bit on the small side when he grows up, but given the fact he'll be breeding full-size goats, I suspect he won't throw too many small goats. The little guy is about six weeks old and not quite weaned, but close enough. I gave him a bottle, and he drank about half. I gave him some hay and brought him inside for the evening. The herd is just a little too overwhelming right now. When he gets used to them, he can stay out with them at night.

Freelance Work

When I got home, I pretty much crashed out because we got up so early. I was able to score some assignments that I need to get done, even though they are somewhat low-paying. Depending on the assignments from content mills, you can make anywhere from maybe around five dollars an assignment all the way up to more than $100 an assignment. Most of it has to do with word count. Some places won't pay you much. Others pay all right but there is usually a fair amount of research that goes into it.

I look at work in terms of how much time it takes me to get the job done. If I'm wasting a lot of time for a small job, it's not worth it to me. Likewise, if the big job doesn't pay anything, I don't go after it. So tomorrow, I'll be taking a look at what I have on my plate and see if I can split it up into something that will work for me and give an idea as to what kind of work I've been doing.

Tough Decisions

I've come to the conclusion that I need to keep track of my work yet again. For years, I had been keeping a log here and, like many good things, I've let it slip for easier stuff like social media. The reality is that I need to put myself back on the schedule. This requires me to hold myself accountable in some way. As much as I want to think that I'm truly disciplined, the reality is this that I need to give myself more incentive. So I'm going to be writing and talking about the current books I'm working on, my own work and my authors' work, as well as the day-to-day writing stuff that I'm doing to make a living.

The reality is that as a freelancer nowadays can be a slog, and with other responsibilities taking time away from my writing, it's a juggling act. So, tonight is the beginning of my restart of my blog. I'll try to keep it helpful, but the reality is I will probably use it simply to mark my progress. So if I write about anything boring, you've been forewarned.

One thing that is changed is my reliance on Dragon NaturallySpeaking. Since my accident, while I still have arm strength, I still have problems with my hands and my arms. Dragon has helped me get faster while writing. But it also means that you're likely to get some wonky syntax occasionally. So, if you're interested in this silly endeavor of mine, you're welcome to read along.

Feb. 13th, 2014



Recently deciphered Viking rune hints at a ‘queer’ playfulness to violent Norse culture (via Raw Story )


A runologist doing doctoral work at the University of Oslo has deciphered one of the runic codes used by Vikings and discovered a message, sent between two men, that reads “Kiss me.” Vikings often wrote in “runic” code on wooden sticks for what…




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