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 urban myth about…
Lizzie and the hat are back, and this time they’re chasing vampires across a subculture of America. A pair of rodeo cowboys are holding a woman captive to use like a milk cow since they joined the undead.
The person who put them onto the trail is also a vampire, but he has to be the worst vampire in history. Is he really that pitiful, or is he setting a trap for our heroes? Does the woman even exist? Can Lizzie and the hat find her before she also takes up blood sucking?
Follow Lizzie and the hat as they use their cover band to stalk vamps across the country music scene.
I’m a real fan of this series and, also being a vamp fan, was super excited to go on this hunting/staking adventure with Lizzie and the hat.
Working several part time jobs and playing in a band keep…
Family time managed to cut into the four days I had available. I’ve already posted about graduation. About all there is to do there is attend for the graduate.
We went to a party at my son’s house to celebrate her accomplishment, and it was anything but small and intimate.
When Sunday came around, my wife had to work. That left my daughter and I to have a long visit. I called my parents while she went for her fancy coffee, then we had several hours to ourselves.
I really enjoyed spending quality father-daughter time. The topics don’t matter very much, it was just the time hanging out that mattered.
This morning, I had the house to myself. I fed the dogs, then started off with a small walk to clear the cobwebs. I’d been suffering for time to work on Lanternfish, and then it only moved ahead by small increments.
That wasn’t what happened today. When I stopped last time, the end of the war was upon us. I started today with the formal surrender.
After that it was time to reoccupy the city, and start reconstruction of several countries. Some of this doesn’t lend itself to fantasy, but I managed to show the cooks with pieces of something I called the river dog. It has huge calamari type tentacles.
I also discovered the bag moth larva on Pinterest. These things cover themselves with twigs and sand, much like a caddis fly, only they are land born. By making mine much larger, I added an interesting scene where one had a pistol woven into its home. It makes a little statement about the litter of war and shows life going on. I called mine the bag weevil.
I could write another novel about the reconstruction and all the political gyrations between allies and enemies, but this is supposed to be the denouement for Lanternfish. I have a lot of characters to get to, and while the main ones will get more attention, some of the minor ones were somebody’s favorites and I need to address them, too.
A lot of planning went into this phase and you can see the value in the 5800 words I wrote today. I could have kept going, but didn’t want to rush things.
Next weekend isn’t looking too favorable, but I might get a few hours. I only had a goal of 2021 for this book. I think I can publish it in the fall and not feel rushed to get it out. That gives me plenty of time in the fermenter, and some decent hours for polishing it up.
I took a vacation day on Friday. This was for our granddaughter’s high school graduation. It was held in a huge center, and they were running grads through all day. There was a school prior to ours, and another one after.
If you’ve ever been to a graduation, you know that your presence is more important than anything else. She was all smiles and photos, as one should be. Otherwise it was three hours in an uncomfortable chair, listing to the same speeches people have been making for millennia, and listening to the band play Pomp and Circumstance.
I’m proud of her, but didn’t get any writing done. Our daughter came over for the big event, so I got to spend time with her. Our son and his wife threw her a big party this afternoon, so between having our daughter and going there… nothing accomplished.
I have to call my parents tomorrow, and can usually steal some time after that. No idea when our daughter will go home and I don’t want to miss any visits with her. Tomorrow isn’t looking too promising either.
My flex day is Monday. I should have the house to myself, and have high hopes to get something done.
It feels like I’ve abandoned this blog, but I’ve just been busy elsewhere. If I get lucky, I can end the war in Lanternfish and start toward the denouement phase. If not, I’m not going to fret over lost time. I got to visit with my daughter, and hung out with my son and his family for the first time in a long stretch.
On the plus side, I scored a graduation program. I find these extremely helpful for naming my fictional characters.
I’ve been working on a cool idea for Story Empire, but it requires a second person. I’ve not had any luck in finding that person. I wound up hacking out a different post for my next turn through the rotation. It came out pretty well, but isn’t what I wanted to post. Perhaps I’ll find that other person in a few weeks.
I found an online hypotenuse calculator. I now know for sure whether an upright bass will fit into a specific pickup bed. (It will, even the full sized instrument.) Saved me from digging out my old HP and figuring out where I could find batteries.
I also came up with a couple of cool new characters, but don’t really know what story they might fit into. I’m glad to meet them, but they need some work. It appears I don’t need specific time to exercise my imagination.
Today, I have a special guest for you. Denise is a wonderful author and a great person to get to know. She’s also one of my partners over at Story Empire. She has a new book to tell us about, and I’m exited to see the wildlife photos. I have these same birds in my back yard, but don’t have access to redwoods. Make her feel welcome, and don’t forget to use those sharing buttons to help her spread the word. Take it away:
Thank you, Craig, for having me here today to share my latest children’s release, “Tree Fairies and Their Short Stories.”
In Tree Fairies, several birds make an appearance, including red-tailed hawks and horned owls. So I thought I’d share some interesting facts about them. The red-tailed hawk weighs between 2-4 pounds, with the females being the bigger bird. They can have a 56-inch wingspan and “kite” or hover in the air over their prey, which is usually rodents.
The great horned owl’s weight falls somewhere between 2 and 5.5 pounds. They will eat anything that moves but can’t digest all they eat. These birds leave behind pellets, which are their undigested food. Their huge eyes, which enable them to see in the dark, don’t move. This is why they swivel their heads to look around.
Where I live, red-tailed hawks have feasted on our chickens. Once a hawk flew at a window where our cat was enjoying the sun. Her only protection from the hawk was a window screen and our barking dog. I’ve never seen an owl, but I do hear them. They are known to hunt small cats, but luckily that’s never happened to us.
Both birds are a nuisance to the tree fairies and will be zapped with magic to remind them that fairies aren’t on their menu.
Fun Finn Facts
1. We have two ravens who share our land.
2. We planted a Giant Sequoia in our front yard thirty years ago.
When reality and magic meet in the forest
It’s 1969, and twelve-year-old Daniel Burns is camping in the redwood forest with his family. Danny wants to listen to his music and read, but his family has other plans. S’mores around the campfire and stories end their first day. The family is sleeping soundly in their secluded tent when Danny wakes up and finds his sister, Colette, is missing. Assuming she went to use the outhouse, he goes after her. When he finds his sister, they discover there is a thin veil between reality and fantasy.
Two bonus short stories offer a glimpse into the magical world that finds Danny and Colette. These hidden beings not only share our world but have a role in protecting their forest.
1969, somewhere in a redwood forest
The sun was setting behind the mammoth trees as we returned to our secluded campsite. My mom rushed into the tent to add inspirational words to the book she was writing. They had come to her on our hike among the redwoods. Dad and my nine-year-old sister, Colette—who weren’t as moved—collected wood for our campfire. They insisted it was a three-person job.
They walked ahead of me, Dad engaged in another batch of endless questions from Colette. I wanted to be listening to the brand-new portable radio I’d gotten for my twelfth birthday, but there were no radio stations to pull in—not even AM. I wouldn’t mind hearing the always-playing “I Heard It through the Grapevine” by Marvin Gaye, but my new favorite song was “Get Back” by the Beatles. Music filled my unsure spaces. Today, surrounded by trees that had lived more than one hundred lifetimes in contrast to mere humans, I needed some soothing tunes. I felt like I was a tiny grape in the vastness of a vineyard.
Picking up a branch here and there, I followed my dad and Colette. Two fluffy-tailed western gray squirrels were chasing each other across the same massive tree my family had attempted to join hands around earlier. I stopped and added two more branches to my load. A hand suddenly waved in front of my face. Dad. I held back my sigh when I saw his frown.
“Daniel Burns. Would you please join us on this hike?”
I kicked a small, gray pebble off the trail. It rolled under a fern before I met Dad’s firm stare. “I am with you.”
Dad folded his arms and raised an eyebrow. “Your body is here, but your mind isn’t, Danny. Like I just said, we’re headed to camp now because we have enough wood. Then we will all get the fire going and cook dinner.” He turned his attention to Colette with a wink. “After that, we can roast marshmallows and tell stories. Maybe Mom will have a new story to share tonight.”
Colette returned the wink. “Can we make s’mores?”
Her big blue eyes were enormous with excitement. Strawberry-blond pigtails bounced up and down in constant motion, and her smile’s brightness matched her loud orange-and-pink-striped shirt. The combination of my sister’s movement and colors made me dizzy. She would be a perfect cartoon character, like a colorful Tweety Bird in the Bugs Bunny cartoons.
“I packed the chocolate bars, marshmallows, and graham crackers myself.” Dad grinned. “Let’s go.”
D. L. Finn is an independent California local who encourages everyone to embrace their inner child. She was born and raised in the foggy Bay Area, but in 1990 she relocated with her husband, kids, dogs, and cats to Nevada City, in the Sierra foothills. She immersed herself in reading all types of books but especially loved romance, horror, and fantasy. She always treasured creating her own reality on paper. Finally, surrounded by towering pines, oaks, and cedars, her creativity was nurtured until it bloomed. Her creations include adult fiction, poetry, a unique autobiography, and children’s books. She continues on her adventure with an open invitation to all readers to join her.
I didn’t get a lot of opportunity to write this weekend, but accomplished something I’ve been working toward for a long time.
This final Lanternfish book is going to require a big denouement. I have a lot of characters to account for, and a lot to do once the war ends. The story stands at 74,000 words right now.
These books have all been over 100K. Since they are epic fantasy, that’s an acceptable amount. In this story, they’ve been on different continents, then different parts of the same continent. James and his group have been split into smaller groups based upon the winds of war.
Today, James and his advisors are with the Prelonian army on the outskirts of Airstony. This is the Prelonian capital, but it’s held by the Hollish. It’s been a brutal road getting here, and he’s lost track of his son along the way. Many of his long term crew are deployed elsewhere.
Serang’s path hasn’t been much easier, but she’s marched from victory to victory. So far they haven’t seen each other since the middle of the last book.
The Prelonians are outmatched by the Hollish in this battle. Their supply lines are precarious overland routes, while the Hollish can be supplied by sea.
I’m going to stop here for the weekend. Serang is here, and she’s bringing the secret to everything with her. I want a few commutes to dwell on my next words. The war is about to wind down, and the reconstruction is about to begin.
My co-main characters will occupy the same pages for the first time this year. I’m kind of excited about it.
I’m participating in Queen Titania’s Court this year. Lizzie and the hat are helping kick it off over at Deborah Frederick’s place. Stop over and say hi. Consider supporting this wonderful event. Free opportunities for authors are golden and we like to support those who open their doors to us.
Author C. S. Boyack joins us today with the current installment in his fun and adventurous urban fantasy series, The Hat. The main character is a musician, Lizzie St. Laurent, with her partner, a magical hat.
“Would you look at that? All those lightning bugs, flowers, and crap.” The hat took the shape of a women’s straw sun hat with an ivory ribbon that dangled down the back. His partner, Lizzie St. Laurent, wore a knee-length white dress with a pair of modest heels.
“We were both invited here. They know about you, so stop talking directly to my mind. I’m thinking one drink and we’re out of here.”
“Cool. Maybe we can pick up something, then go out to the country. I have a hunch where some graveyard ghouls could be hanging out. You’re packing, aren’t you?”
Joan Hall is with us today to tell us about her new book. It’s the first in the Legends of Madeira Series. There is also a sidecar/prequel called House of Sorrow, that I highly recommend.
Joan is a big supporter of the independent author community, one of my partners over at Story Empire, and just and all around good person. Let’s give her a big welcome, and make sure to use those sharing buttons to help her launch this project. Take it away, Joan:
Cold Dark Night: A Lunar Trifecta
Thank you for your generosity in hosting me today, Craig. I’m delighted to be back with you to kick off this tour for my latest release, Cold Dark Night, the first novel in the Legends of Madeira series.
As you know, I’ve long been fascinated by the full moon. Several years ago, I discovered Native Americans had names for each of them. Up until that time, I’d only heard of the Harvest Moon or a Blue Moon (when there are two full moons in a calendar month).
In 2018, a rare event occurred. January had two full (or blue) moons, as did March, meaning there was no full moon in February. This is sometimes referred to as a Black Moon.
This rarity occurs every nineteen years or so and is dependent upon time zones and leap years. But January 31, 2018, there was an even more uncommon occurrence, the trifecta of a blue moon, a supermoon (close proximity to earth), and a blood moon or eclipse.
I had an early meeting that day, and as I arrived at work, the eclipse had just begun. The event fueled my imagination. I had to write a story around this unique event. The idea for Cold Dark Night began to take shape.
He looked toward the western sky. The earth began to pass between the moon and the sun, casting a shadow on the lunar surface. Before long, it would appear blood-red, the brightness completely obliterated.
The darkest hour is just before dawn.
How many times had he heard his grandmother say those words? It was years before he knew where the quote originated, or that it was metaphorical, not literal.
He’d come to a remote area of the Vaughn ranch to view this rare celestial event. Stargazers and astronomy enthusiasts gathered in various places outside Madeira to watch, but he didn’t want to be around others. He wanted to be alone, and the chances of the ranch’s owners spotting him were next to nothing.
A twinge of excitement ran through him as the lunar surface turned a coppery hue. Astronomers called it the Super Blue Blood Moon—a rare trifecta of the second full moon of the month, its nearness to earth, and a total eclipse.
An eerie stillness surrounded him. His pulse quickened—not from fear, but in anticipation of what was to come. Part of him wanted to go ahead with his plans. Too bad he hadn’t thought of it before now. A killing taking place during the blood moon would have been perfect.
But no, he had to bide his time. Wait for the natural course of events. He’d waited thirty-eight years. Another couple of weeks wouldn’t matter.
The darkest hour is just before dawn.
He would see the morning. But for some, darkness would soon last forever.
Thanks again for hosting me today. Cold Dark Night is available on Amazon for the introductory price of .99 through the end of June. The price increases to $3.99 on June 15th, so now is a good time for readers to grab a copy.
New husband, new house, new town… and a new mystery to solve.
Tami Montgomery thought her police chief husband was going to be the only investigator in the family when she gave up her journalism career and moved with him to Madeira, New Mexico.
But after the historical society asks her to write stories for a book celebrating the town’s history, she becomes embroiled in a new mystery. If she can’t solve this one, she could lose everything. Her research uncovers a spate of untimely deaths of local law enforcement officials. Further digging reveals a common link—they all lived in the house she and Jason now share.
Tami isn’t a superstitious person, but the circumstances are too similar for coincidence. Then she unearths an even more disturbing pattern. And if history repeats itself, her husband will be the next to die.
I called my parents this morning before doing anything else. Mom is headed out to put flowers on graves today.
After that, I decided to get my butt in gear and return to Lanternfish. The story is in a weird place right now, and it’s almost like I have a second middle slog.
I caused this by having the various characters scattered all over the continent. Each group had something to accomplish, and they’ve all done that now.
This poses a problem, because they all need to reconvene. I can’t just pop everyone into the end game. Serang and James both have large groups of people to move around. It’s a world at war, so a clear road just isn’t going to work.
At this time, readers will have seen land and sea battles in abundance. I’ve resorted to watching them from afar, then gathering intelligence to make the next moves.
I’m just about there. Serang is on the final leg of her journey. I added a tiny chapter about Diego Palumbo, but also sped it up somewhat.
James is idle, and still needs to account for the root monsters before he gets moving again. I can probably tackle that in the morning. Root monsters require a different mindset than writing cannonades and cavalry charges.
I need to figure out some kind of fantastical creature to weave into the scenery along the way. This is a somewhat fantasy story, and at this point root monsters are accepted and normal characters. It won’t have to be much, maybe some kind of wildlife.
It came to around 2700 words, so I’m calling it a good day. If I can do that tomorrow, I won’t lament taking yesterday off.
Lunar Boogie has been published. The blog tour has ended, and it’s time to forge ahead. We had a lot of fun on the tour, and I got some wonderful comments.
Some people have read it already, and the early reviews are awesome. Maybe consider clicking on that cover in the sidebar and checking it out.
This week was crazy. Not only did I have a book tour going on, I also had to make a quick road trip to Sandpoint for my real job. Responding to comments on a cell phone with dicey wifi is a treat.
Sandpoint is a beautiful town up close to Canada. It sits on the shores of Lake Pend Orielle. It’s frequented by bald eagles, so I kept my eyes open.
I saw a lot of ospreys on the way into town. As cool as they are, they aren’t the same. I heard an eagle scream from my hotel, but couldn’t spot the bugger through the trees.
I drove the rental car for our group, and when we drove home from supper, I spotted one. It was twilight, and I was watching the geese in a grain field. The closest bird to me raised his head and wasn’t a goose at all.
This seemed like my luck lately. I spotted the dumbest, outcast eagle of all time. He was out past bedtime and appeared to be grubbing for worms in the mud not twenty feet from the car. Not very majestic, but I’m counting him.
I know eagles don’t spend all their time posting selfies. I’ve seen swarms of them crawling around a beached whale carcass like maggots. They aren’t anything more that what they need to be. People like me put the image on them.
When we left town, I had a glorious sighting of another one. This one swirled around on thermals above the lake, then landed on a pole just as I drove past.
Bald eagles are a rare sight around here. I watched the Boise River all winter, but never saw one this year. I always felt like they foretold luck for me. By sighting two, I’m kind of artificially excited.
Never got to see the famous lake monster. Maybe next time. I should have placed out some cookies or something.
I’m considering doing a series blog tour this fall for The Hat Series. I have enough books now to make it a thing. I can take advantage of some free days as part of the promo. I’m curious what you folks think of this approach.
Lanternfish beckons now. I have three days to myself, and need to hack out some new material so I can get this one out in 2021. If you include Serang, I could tour this series around in a similar fashion.
Procrastination is part of the game. This week was brutal, I’m telling you. I’ll write at some point, but I kind of want to vegetate for a day.
Let me hear from you. Do you have a connection with a specific animal? Do you know any fresh new promotional tricks? Have you ever seen a lake monster?