Mountain Laurel Christmas

Let’s all welcome Jan Sikes to Entertaining Stories. She’s one of my longest term author friends, and a partner at Story Empire. She’s here to tell us about her new Christmas novella. Let’s make sure to use those sharing buttons for her today.

Failure and disappointment are two horrible feelings for anyone to handle. My character in Mountain Laurel Music struggles to deal with those feelings, most of the time attempting to drown them in alcohol. But when the effects of the alcohol wear off, he is left with the same hollow disappointment in himself.

My character had made a promise.

Excerpt:

I’ll never forget Papa placing his hand on my shoulder a few days before he died, making me promise on everything holy and sacred, to take care of Mama, April and Timmy if anything ever happened to him. Perhaps he knew.

It sticks in the back of my throat now like a bitter quinine pill.

I failed him.

I failed Mama.

And now I’ve failed myself.

I think sometimes the greatest disappointments we can experience in life are in ourselves. I have certainly been there, and even now, after many years, if I allow myself to think about it, I can conjure up the same horrible, disgusting feeling.

What about you? Have you found ways to deal with disappointment or failure? Please share.

Mountain Laurel Christmas Blurb:

Orphaned, his family torn apart by tragedy, Cole Knight has come a long way from a ramshackle miner’s cabin on the side of the Cumberland Mountain.

Daring to follow an impossible dream, he’s made it big in the music business. Now, he’s a country music sensation with a huge house, fancy cars, plenty of willing women, money, and adoring fans. He should be on top of the world. Instead, he’s drowning in a swirling pool of self-contempt and relentless guilt.

It’s easier to lose himself in a bottle than face the hard truth…he hasn’t delivered on a promise he made to his father.

It’s almost Christmas, and the sting of failure drives him back to that tiny cabin in the mountains. But has he waited too late to put the shattered pieces back together—to find himself and restore a lost family?

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#NewBook Hoist the Colors, one more time…

I spent my weekend publishing “Wreck of the Lanternfish.” I swore this would come out in 2021, and now it has.

Amazon took it’s sweet time, and I ran into a few glitches along the way. For whatever reason, Apple decided to reduce the size of my cover when I save it. This led me to search back through a couple of thousand posts for Sean Harrington’s original mail to find an image the correct size. It seems Apple Mail does not have a search feature. My saved image at least tagged the date, and that helped a bit.

This led me to create a folder for Sean’s delivery emails. Since I was on a mission, I also dug out the cover for Good Liniment and saved it there, too.

It took a day to get through Amazon’s review, then a few more hours to publish, but it’s there now. Then it took even more time to attach to the series. I still haven’t seen the numbering sequence correct, but assume that’s coming. Voyage of the Lanternfish still shows as book one of two, instead of book one of three. At least the book is available now.

I also learned we can link other titles to the series without making them part of the series. This probably isn’t new, but it’s new to me. I updated Serang to populate when someone links to the trilogy.

While I was waiting, I gave Entertaining Stories a facelift. Some new wallpaper and the underwater banner image felt appropriate.

James Cuttler created a peaceful spot for he and his wife to settle down. Far from the war that ravages their homeland, far from the reputation he earned as the notorious pirate Captain Bloodwater, and far from responsibility.

A royal Prelonian houseguest is a constant reminder of what’s at stake half a world away, of the friends he put ashore to fight the war. He lives in a dream world that’s temporary, at best. It’s only a matter of time before his guest is identified and the black assassins come for her.

He mortgages his precious vineyard to pay for repairs to his ship. If nothing else, Lanternfish will be one of the most powerful ships in the war, if he’s not already too late.

James will have to merge the skills of commander and con man into something new to make this work. He’ll need to avoid those on his own side who would hang him for piracy.

Serang is half a world away, leading her army of mercinary swordsmen toward the Fulminites. Mistrusted by both sides of the war, she appears as a third combatant on the battlefield. She may eliminate the mysterious order, only to succumb to the demons of her own tragic past.

Strap on your swords and hoist the colors one more time as the thrilling Lanternfish Trilogy comes to an end.

Wreck of the Lanternfish purchase link

Trilogy link

****

I know many of you are reluctant to start a series until it concludes. If that was your concern, fear no more. I’ll be taking this book out on tour, but will wait until after Thanksgiving to start. It’s probably the worst time, since it’s not a Christmas story, but maybe some folks prefer to avoid Christmas stories. This is an alternative.

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Let’s Set Sail Upon Magical Seas in this #Podcast: Voyage of the Lanternfish by @Virgilante

Jean Lee read the first chapter of ‘Voyage of the Lanternfish’ on her podcast today. This is a wonderful chance to remind everyone the trilogy will wrap up very soon. In fact I hope to make a big dent in publishing ‘Wreck of the Lanternfish’ this weekend.

Jean Lee's World

Welcome back, my fellow creatives! We’re back with more beautiful brews from fellow indie authors of the writing community.

After a couple rounds of wartime fiction, it is time to partake of something more magical, more fantastical. Who’s up for a bit of monsters and mayhem? I am! So, let’s try Voyage of the Lanternfish by C.S. Boyack.

What does a reader experience in those opening pages, and what lessons can a writer take away in studying but a few paragraphs? Let’s find out!

If you do not see the audio player above, you can access the podcast here.

I had a wonderful time interviewing Craig Boyack a few days ago–click here to check that out! Please be sure to visit hisblogfor fun writing insights, updates on his writing life, music playlists, and more.

The indie goodness is falling…

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#AuthorInterview: C.S. Boyack of @StoryEmpire Discusses #Character Voices and #Writing #SpeculativeFiction

I’m visiting with Jean Lee today as part of her fabulous interview series. Stop over and say, “Hi.”

Jean Lee's World

Happy November, my fellow creatives! I hope you’ve found time to explore some fun music and story prompts during this year’s NaNoWriMo.

I’m always happy to cheer you on–especially this year, as I’m recovering from COVID. Thankfully our symptoms are mild and we are pacing ourselves carefully. Be thankful for every healthy moment!

In the meantime, I’m happy to have an author interview with someone I’ve followed for some time in the indie author sphere but have never had a chance to interview until now. My friends, please welcome Craig Boyack!

What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

This won’t have anything to do with the written word, but it was still powerful. All of my elders went through World War II in some fashion. They would quote statements made by the leaders of the day, and as a child, you knew they…

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Checking in

I’m in Nevada this weekend. My daughter and I drove down Friday night.

Dad is on hospice care, so this might actually be the last visit with him. It’s kind of stressful, to say the least. He sleeps a lot, so there are moments to visit with my brother and mother.

Sometime during one of those quiet moments, I hacked out one more blog tour promo post. I have a few to go, and don’t know when I’ll get to write them. I swear, ‘Wreck of the Lanternfish’ will come out in 2021. Watch this space.

Tonight, my brother brought out a bottle of Colonel E. H. Taylor small batch whiskey. It really helps to digest the situation I find myself in.

My daughter got away for an hour and visited her aunt and uncle. They have a new house we’ve never seen, but I stayed here. They also have a German shorthair puppy she said is is uber-cute.

Please forgive my lack of posts. There is a lot going on in my life right now. If I had my druthers, I’d be writing, blogging, and publishing.

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What’s up?

I don’t know if anyone noticed, but I’ve been a lot less active online lately. I did my October tour and tried to cover those comments, but as far as new content here goes, I’ve been pretty lax.

There is a lot going on in my life right now. As only one example, my father had another collapse last week. They flew him to the Huntsman Cancer Center in Salt Lake.

This came as a surprise, because my parents see a lot of doctors throughout the year. To learn that he has masses from his bladder to his lungs seems kind of sudden. They won’t call them cancer until they do the biopsies on Monday.

I’ve been on the phone with family, or in contact via electronic means for a week now. There is some discussion about taking him home to await the inevitable.

Dad has been fading for years, and he’s in his late eighties, so this isn’t completely unexpected. Everyone goes eventually, from something. It’s just another in a long line of things to deal with this year.

I missed a day and a half of work, but am determined to work all next week. There is nothing I can do about any of this, and it takes a few days for that to settle in. The issue with my father is only about one in six different things I’m dealing with right now. I’m not posting about the rest of it.

I’m trying to dabble with promotional posts for Lanternfish, but not making much progress. I want to release it soon, but I’m also exhausted. I’ll pick away at promo posts, then consider doing a limited release tour when I’m finally ready.

I’m also dabbling with my side project, but word count is way down. If I get a page per session, I’m lucky. There’s just too damned much going on elsewhere to focus. 28K words in and I already killed a character. I’m going to keep it moving, but might have to back up and review once I’m in a different mindset.

Not really looking for sympathy here. I just want my readers to know that a forced slowdown is upon me. I’m still here, there will be a release of Lanternfish. There will be more stories. It’s just that I’m in lower gear right now.

I don’t think 2021 is going to be getting a positive review from me.

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No Such Luck #NewBook #Romance

Please welcome Staci Troilo today. She’s a dear blogging friend, a tremendous author, and a partner in Story Empire. I’ve learned a lot from her, and suggest everyone get to know her. She has a new book to tell us all about, and I hope you’ll check it out.

***

Thanks for inviting me here today, Craig. Hi, everybody. I appreciate you taking a few minutes to chat with me about my new release, No Such Luck. It’s a fast and fun clean romance perfect for the holidays.

Piper Seidel loses her good luck charm, and that sets off a chain of unlucky events for her. The following is a brief excerpt from the novella, when she has the misfortune of running into her unrequited high school crush unexpectedly.

Excerpt:

She walked in, grabbed a cart. A blast of heat hit her in the face, so she shoved her hat in her pocket and considered taking off her coat but decided against it. At least, for now. Halfway through the produce section, she stopped at the blood orange display. They were more expensive than the others, but such a treat she couldn’t pass them up. Especially since they were impossible to find in the south. She’d just have to be more frugal with her other purchases. After bagging half a dozen, she turned and bumped into Tommy Burnett.

The bag slipped from her fingers.

The oranges rolled all over the floor.

“Piper Seidel? Is that you?”

Seven vehicles in the lot, and his had to be one of them. “Tommy. Hi.” She scrambled after the fruit, causing them to roll further across the floor.

He bent and retrieved her oranges, helping her put them back in the plastic. When their hands brushed, she almost dropped the bag again. He caught it, tied it off, then placed it in her cart. “There you go. So, you in town long?”

“Uh, um… I’m not sure.” Words, Piper. Use your words.

“Well, maybe I’ll see you around.” He waved as he ambled off.

“Could have thanked him for helping with the fruit,” Piper mumbled. “Could have invited him over. Could have asked him out. Noooo. You stand there and stutter. Idiot. Good thing you got an English degree. That was money well spent. So loquacious for a woman who makes her living in the communication field.”

***

Gotta feel for Piper. Things only get worse for her from there.

I hope you enjoyed that quick sneak peek. No Such Luck, the first installment of the Keystone Couples series, is available now on Amazon.

Blurb:

Seeds of luck usually wither. The rare one grows and blooms.

Piper Seidel has one thing going for her—a red carnation given to her by Tommy Burnett in the tenth grade. It might have dried over the years, but it’s still her good luck charm. Losing it sets her life in a downward spiral, forcing her to return to her hometown where she comes face to face with her high school crush.

The years have been kind to Tommy, who looks better than ever. Unfortunately, Piper is at her worst, continually embarrassing herself whenever he’s around. The only plus? Her long-time friend, Jack Rhodes, still lives in town. Since she last saw him, his legs have grown longer, his biceps thicker, and his shoulders broader. He was always the brother she never had, but now she can’t help noticing him in an unsisterly way. Jack is every bit as caring as he’s ever been—until her bad luck drives him away, maybe forever.

Piper needs a new good luck charm, and fast, before she loses her final chance at happiness.

Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09J31935Z?

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The Halloween Special: “Lunar Boogie” (The Hat Book 4) #Book #Review & Interview with AUTHOR, C. S. Boyack, @VIRGILANTE

I’m over at Colleen Chesebro’s place today. Our Halloween get together has become an annual event. Stop over and chat. While you’re there, check out her site and all her wares. She’s an incredible resource for you poets out there.

Colleen M. Chesebro

From the Author

Lizzie and the hat are back in action, only this time they’re up against the most tragic monster of all, a werewolf.

This adventure is more like hunting an animal, and the werewolf is unlikely to come to any of their musical performances. This puts Lizzie out in the dark corners and wooded areas of the city. It may be more beneficial to get the monster to hunt Lizzie than to stalk him on his own turf. All she has to do is be quicker on the trigger than the wolf is on his feet.

At the same time, the police think they’re after a serial killer. Lizzie tries to keep them alive while also keeping them out of her way. As the body count rises, so do the pressures. It doesn’t help that people are blaming Lizzie and the hat for the killings. This involves an…

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Some statistics for you

Hi, everyone. I’ve neglected this site again, but there were tour posts all over the place. Thanks to the group of you that followed along. This post is for my fellow writers out there, and you might find it interesting.

The tour ended prematurely, but one of my potential hosts is quite ill. I have her in my thoughts, and you didn’t miss a lot. If you feel like you missed something, check out Lunar Boogie in the sidebar. It was the book of the day.

To recap, I toured each book in The Hat Series for one week during October. Books one & three had free days, and to support those, I hired Fussy Librarian for some extra push. Let’s look at a visual.

I doubt you can read that, but it’s the image that helps anyway. The blue graph above shows my free promotion days. You can see the pattern is almost identical. Day one hit nearly a thousand free copies, after that it trailed off.

If I turn off the freebies, the graph shows book sales, but at best there were ten one day. That’s why they don’t show up with the freebies turned on.

The lower graphic is pages read via Kindle Unlimited. To me it’s more important. Most of my book earnings have been via this platform for a couple of years now. The patterns are similar, and not different enough to determine why. The better days were around 500 pages per day, with one that broke 1000. I’m not getting rich here, but I’m calling the promo a success. Nearly all of those pages were in the The Hat Series. In fact you can see a small bit of action on the far left before the promotion started. That’s what my graph normally looks like.

So far, I’ve gained two star-reviews where they rated the book worthy of five stars, and one actual review. I love both of those formats, so thank you whoever you are.

This also happened.

Yup, that’s Mrs. Molony in the #1 spot. It held onto the top ten throughout the free period.

There’s one post left that relates to the promotion. It’s my annual visit at Colleen Chesebro’s place on Halloween. It’s about the series, but it’s also about what comes next for Lizzie and the hat. I’ll be checking in on Sunday, so make sure to visit me.

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The Hat Series by C.S.Boyack Promotion – Lunar Boogie

John Howell is one of my oldest blogging and writing friends. He’s a fabulous author, and keeps a very active blog. He’s also a partner in the Story Empire site. I’m visiting his place to talk about Lunar Boogie, and hope you’ll stop over. While you’re there, check out John’s site and books.

Fiction Favorites

I am delighted to welcome Craig Boyack to my blog. Craig is a highly creative and talented writer. He can create stories out of totally fictional situations and character types. The hallmark of his books is the reader will find unusual circumstances wrapped in a plausible yet outrageous story and served up with humor and excitement. Craig has written a four-book series that is called The Hat series. I have read The Hat and Viral Blues. In addition, I have Mrs. Malony and Lunar Boogie on my Kindle. I wondered why I haven’t read them yet but put it down to a large TBR pile. I think I’ll move them up.

Craig and I have known each other for a while, and we are both members of the Story Empire crew. I looked up the first time Craig visited my blog, and it was October 2015. He was promoting his…

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