Being a good spouse

I planned on writing some new fiction today, but it didn’t quite work out the way we planned. The new range was scheduled to arrive today, and my wife had an appointment for an alignment and service on her car.

The original plan was to have me wait for Sears, and keep an eye on the dogs. She would take the car and go shopping on the way home. Somewhere in the middle of coffee she said she was cancelling her car appointment, because the area behind the old range was dirty.

I suggested that if that was a big deal we could simply trade tasks. I would slide the old range out and she could have things ready before Sears even got here.

When I got to the dealership, they said to expect a four and a half hour wait. They also said the diagnostic on a Bluetooth problem she was having would be $199, and it might not solve anything. I called my wife, and we’re going to try a couple of things on our own. At minimum, we can completely disconnect her phone, then re-acquaint it with her car. That might fix things.

I fooled everyone though. Peterson Motors has a small business section with wifi and places to plug in electronics. I brought my iPad with me and set up shop. Without the Bluetooth issue, the appointment only took two hours.

I managed about 1200 new words. That isn’t great, but considering the environment, I’m pretty happy about it.

The big bad revealed himself. The love interest is a captive, and the boys are forced into doing something evil to prevent further evil being done upon her person. I’m anxious to get through this section and start generally making a big mess of things and wreaking havoc. I might even get to kill some characters before the weekend ends.

It wasn’t a perfect day, but I salvaged it in pretty acceptable fashion.

Tonight we decided to christen our new range by…

…wait for it…

Ordering Tai takeout food.

Two more days off. I have at least one post to assemble and schedule, but I expect more fiction to happen too. I’ll have the place to myself on President’s Day.



Filed under Uncategorized, Writing

A small miracle

Here is some great news on the Frankie front. Weeks ago, a piece of a toy went unaccounted for. She was chewing on it when I spotted the rubber arm of this squeaky toy missing. My wife and I looked everywhere for the missing piece, and decided she had to have swallowed it.

She vomited in the middle of the night about two weeks later, and aspirated some of it. Bulldogs are notorious for breathing issues, and this is about par for the course. She wound up with pneumonia from this and was really sick for a day or two before the meds kicked in. I mean middle of the night emergency vet sick.

Two rounds of X-rays, plus an ultrasound later, and there was no sign of this missing chunk of rubber. We knew rubber wasn’t likely to appear on an X-ray or an ultrasound, but the vet said other things like blockages and stomach lesions would show up. Nothing did.

Earlier this week, a big chunk of pink rubber appeared in our back yard. The culprit was Otto, and it passed through. I was not convinced, because the chunk wasn’t big enough.

Otto is huge, 65 pounds. Frankie is pretty tiny. She weighs in at 35 pounds, but bulldogs are so dense that it equates to about the size of a Scottie. (She was the runt of her litter.)

Last night I woke up to the sound of a dog horking on the floor again. I jumped right up, because she had that emergency trip recently. This time, I found more than froth to clean up.

The squeaky toy was some kind of monster, with rubber arms that ended in crab claws. That’s my key ring for perspective. I can’t believe she swallowed the damned thing in the first place, and it’s a miracle that it ever came back up. It would have had to line up perfectly just to fit back in her throat. If it had started out the other end, it could have killed her.

Surgery to remove a swallowed item starts at about $1500, but bulldogs need special intubation to make sure they keep breathing. We may have dodged that bullet.

Oddly enough, she had no other symptoms. I’m sure the aspiration pneumonia is related, but she’s been eating like a little horse, playing hard, and going potty regularly.

Now all we have to do is worry about the next damned thing. She and Otto chewed up the backing underneath one of our rugs yesterday. Underneath.

Our daughter swears she picked up handfuls of the stuff, and doesn’t think they ate any of it. This is all Frankie’s doing, no doubt. She’s psycho, but Otto will play her games if they look fun. I swear I need to start tranquilizing them when they’re out of my sight.

But we love you, Dad.

Note: I wrote this about 2:00 this morning, because up is up at that time. I scheduled it for tonight so Joan got to be the spotlight post of the day. If you missed Lisa’s show, check it out by rolling down the page to the previous post.


Filed under Uncategorized

An Arson Investigation, on #LisaBurtonRadio

Lisa Burton

Hey there all you nail benders and tool belt aficionados, you wood butchers of every stripe. You’ve landed on Lisa Burton Radio, the only show that brings you characters from the books you love, or soon will. My special guest today is Brian Nichols, owner of Nichols Construction, in Driscoll Lake, Texas. “Welcome to the show, Brian.”

“Hi Lisa. Thanks for having me. I admit I’ve never been interviewed by a robot girl before.”

“Don’t worry, it’s no different than any other interview. Now, Driscoll Lake is a small town. I think that’s important for our readers to understand. Tell us a little about Driscoll Lake.”

“Driscoll Lake is small, but growing. We’re located about ninety miles east of Dallas—close enough if you like the big city nightlife, but far enough to still have a laid-back feeling. We have a lot of newcomers to the town, but several of the families here go back generations. Rachel’s ancestors were among the founders.

“Oh, you wouldn’t know Rachel. We went to high school together, but she moved away to live with her father in Austin. She moved back to this area a few years ago. We’re friends. Good, um, friends. Well, let’s just say she’s really special to me.

“She’s a doctor and has her own practice here in Driscoll Lake. I don’t think that idiot investigator Greg Sikes believed either of us about what happened at her clinic.”

“Driscoll Lake sounds like a nice place. What would bring Greg Sikes into the picture at all?”

“In a word, arson.”



“Oh, come on Brian. You can’t just leave us hanging like that.”

“Alright… someone has set fire to two houses that I’ve built, as well as the house where I grew up, and a couple of business that I did some work on. There was another fire at Judge Lawrence’s house. It wasn’t one of my houses, but someone saw me near the scene before the fire. I swear I didn’t go near his place. Even Rachel’s clinic was targeted. And now, Sikes is saying the first fire at the old factory was arson. Sometimes I wished I’d never bought the place from Rachel. Why would someone believe I would I want to set fire to my own property?”

“Hmm… I get it, but there are so many other possibilities. How many builders could there be in Driscoll Lake? Maybe it’s a coincidence that the properties are connected to you. Maybe you’re actually the target. Did you ever look at it that way?”

“Rachel seems to think that’s the case. Matt, he’s the police chief and my best friend, believes it too. But Sikes doesn’t agree. I think the fire marshal has swayed his opinion. Abbott doesn’t like me.”

“How about an alibi?”

“Never thought I would need one. Trouble is on at least two occasions, I was supposed to meet Rachel somewhere and was late both times. Funny thing, the arsonist never strikes when I’m playing with the band. Oh, did I tell you? I play drums with a local band called Radical. We play a lot of Classic Rock. Music is my outlet. When I’m sitting behind those drums, I can tune out (no pun intended) everything else.

“Seems like whoever is setting these fires keeps a close watch on my whereabouts. Or maybe they use timers or something. Or maybe it is coincidence.”

“I understand. I had to do a bunch of arson research years ago. So what are you going to do?”

“Lisa, you should come to Driscoll Lake and take over the investigation. I’m sure you’d be fair minded. Seriously, this is hurting my business. I invested heavily when I bought the old factory. Took months for them to rule that fire as an accident, so we were unable to complete the project on schedule. At least that fire didn’t destroy the place.

“A real estate agent contacted me to say someone is interesting in buying the property. The offer was extremely generous. I admit I was tempted to sell. But Rachel wants me to keep the place. The property was in her family a long time. She proposed a business partnership where she’ll help with the financing. She doesn’t want me to give up on my dream of turning the old buildings into shops and restaurants.”

“Whatever you decide, I’m sure we’re all with you. Any final comments for our listeners today?”

“In spite of the recent crimes, Driscoll Lake is a great place to live and visit. And hey, if anyone likes Classic Rock, Radical is playing at a new club on Friday night. Come out and hear us play.”

“You can learn all about Brian and his struggles in the book Unknown Reasons, by Joan Hall. I’ll post all the details on the blog site.

“Before you leave, I’d appreciate it if you’d click a couple of those sharing buttons. It helps me keep the lights on around here. I’m also sure Joan and Brian would do it for you when your character appears on the next Lisa Burton Radio.”



If you can’t stand the heat…

Rachel Jackson hails from one of Driscoll Lake’s wealthiest families. Like her father, she became a doctor and is now a respected physician. But despite her successful career, Rachel feels something is missing from her life—until she crosses paths with Brian Nichols.

The son of a hard-working mother and alcoholic father, Brian acted out when he was young, earning a reputation as a troublemaker. As an adult, he’s worked hard to clean up his act and now owns a burgeoning construction company.

Rachel and Brian form an unlikely friendship which begins to blossom into something more. But a series of structure fires—determined to be arson—puts Brian in the hot seat. The properties are all associated with his work, making him the prime suspect. Toss in his juvenile history, and he finds himself the focus of a tenacious investigator. Even Rachel starts to have doubts.

Brian struggles to save his relationship, his company, and his reputation. But unless the real arsonist is caught before striking again, everything Brian holds dear may go up in smoke.

Purchase Link 

Author Bio:

Joan Hall likes to create character-driven fiction with strong, determined female leads and male characters that are sometimes a bit mysterious. Her favorite genre is mystery and suspense—often with a touch of romance.

When she’s not writing, Joan likes to take nature walks, explore old cemeteries, and visit America’s National Parks and historical sites. She and her husband live in Texas.

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | Pinterest | Facebook Author Group | Goodreads



Filed under Lisa Burton Radio

The hero’s journey, and the real world

I’m up over at Story Empire. I don’t have a Valentine’s Day story, but it is a February story. Maybe we can use it to mark out plot points and character arc.

Story Empire

Hey all, happy Valentine’s Day and all that goes with it. Craig here today, and how the heck did I draw February 14th in the rotation? We have a number of romance authors, and even erotica authors here at Story Empire, but somehow you got the speculative fiction guy.

So, we aren’t touching romance with a ten yard chain today. I have two ideas, one about self promotion, the other about the hero’s journey. Time for the coin toss.

Hero’s journey it is.

There are any number of plotting methods out there, and my living document on the subject has about seven. In a nutshell, they involve a reluctant hero taking on incredible odds to save the day. There are reasons for all of this, including making the hero relatable, facing incredible odds, and coming out the other side with some version of success and personal growth.

For today’s post…

View original post 715 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Book Review Feb 2018. “The Hat” by C.S.Boyack. @Virgilante #Paranormal #Speculative Fiction #RRBC

Some more lovely comments about The Hat. Soooz focuses on Lizzie’s desire for a memento of her grandmother. Visit her site and check out her wares while you’re over there.

Welcome to the World of Suzanne Burke.


BOOK Review “The Hat” By C.S. Boyack.

Meet the author.


I was born in a town called Elko, Nevada. I like to tell everyone I was born in a small town in the 1940s. I’m not quite that old, but Elko has always been a little behind the times. This gives me a unique perspective of earlier times, and other ways of getting by. Some of this bleeds through into my fiction.

I moved to Idaho right after the turn of the century, and never looked back. My writing career was born here, with access to other writers and critique groups I jumped in with both feet.

I like to write about things that have something unusual. My works are in the realm of science fiction, paranormal, and fantasy. The goal is to entertain you for a few hours. I hope you enjoy the ride.



Lizzie St. Laurent…

View original post 399 more words


Filed under Uncategorized

Writing hazards

I don’t play golf, but I know they have hazards on the course. There are sand traps and water hazards that can mess with your game. My writing days are full of hazards too.

The main one is my daughter. She likes to talk — a lot. She talks for hours about her job to the point where I feel like I was there with her on her shift. Today, she has a new topic though. Enter Jackson.

We’ve never owned a cat. In her entire life there has never been a cat. We’re dog people. They aren’t foreign to me, my mom had cats at various times. It’s something new to my daughter, and she’s really excited about it. I refuse to stop her chatter, and try to be a good dad. Things change and young adults have been known to move halfway across the country on short notice. We spent a lot of time letting the animals get used to each other.

My big concern is dogs and cats together. They get supervised time together and are doing really well with the situation. Otto wants to sniff him, but that’s about where his interest ends. Frankie is the one to watch. Jackson likes to sneak up on her and bonk her on the head.

I’m still being diligent, because Kipling taught me The Female of the Species is more Deadly than the Male. This certainly seems to hold true with my dogs. Otto is a big hugger and lover of all things. Frankie is psycho and I don’t completely trust her around Jackson.

After my daughter goes to work, and Jackson goes to her room, I get a chance to write new words. There is still the bulldog hazard, but I’ve gotten pretty good at writing around it.

This one is Frankie, and I can get an arm around her and still type. I can’t quite reach around Otto in the same fashion.

Still, all progress is good. I wound up with around 2500 new words on the day. Skulls were bashed, shackles were fitted, and the big abduction happened. Aside from this, an ugly fish bit one of the supporting characters. My next move will be to define the stakes for the characters, imprison the love interest, and force the men into a task they don’t want and are ill equipped for.

Unfortunately, my own servitude is calling. Tomorrow begins the work week for me, so it will be Saturday at minimum before I can write again.

In other news, I got three more nice reviews for The Hat over the weekend. People seem to really be enjoying it, and that’s like rocket fuel to my writer brain. I haven’t sold a copy in days, but there is lag time between purchases and reviews. Reviews can lead to sales, so I hope it keeps up a bit of momentum.


Filed under Writing

Colleen’s 2018 #Book #Reviews – “The Hat,” by C. S. Boyack

Here is another great review of The Hat. Get to know Colleen while you’re over there. She has a great writing blog and you probably ought to follow her.

122517_2210_ColleensBoo1.pngTitle: The Hat, A Novella

Amazon Author Page: C. S. Boyack

Publication Date: January 11, 2018

Formats: Paperback & Kindle

Genres: Science fiction & fantasy, Superheros, Paranormal & Urban



Lizzie St. Laurent is dealing with many of the struggles of young life. She lost her grandmother, and her living arrangements. Her new roommate abandoned her, and she’s working multiple jobs just to keep her head above water.

She inherits an old hat from her grandmother’s estate, but it belonged to her grandfather. This is no ordinary hat, but a being from an alternate dimension. One with special powers.

Lizzie and the hat don’t exactly hit it off right away, but when her best friend’s newborn is kidnapped by a ring of baby traffickers, Lizzie turns to the hat for help. This leads her deep into her family history and a world she’s never known.

View original post 618 more words


Filed under Uncategorized