It’s Lisa Burton, on Lisa Burton Radio #RRBC

Welcome to another edition of Lisa Burton Radio, the show where we talk to the characters that bring the stories to life. I'm your host, Lisa the robot girl, and I find myself without a guest again.

Several of you sent in emails that you thought a show where I talk about myself would be a good idea. It's not the normal kind of show, but I'm going to go with it for this week. In fact, I have an idea involving your emails, and I'll talk about it toward the end of the show.

I have a bunch of interviews lined up, but you know how authors are, they want to time them for the book release, or a big promotion they have coming up. I don't blame them, I was in a story or two myself. I'm always looking for characters to interview, so don't be afraid to drop me a line. This page has all the important deets. Yeah, I'm a robot, I can speak in html.

I've done a lot in my short time here. My origin story is in the novel, Wild Concept. Craig also loaned me out to the lovely Karen at My Train of Thoughts on. Karen let me flex some of my forensics skills to help her character out with an investigation.

Craig let me move into the writing cabin where I help him with his stories. This usually involves making coffee, but he also lets me download voices and help him with dialog. As his personal assistant, I make arrangements for his blog tours, discounts, and other promotions.

A couple of years ago he promoted me to spokesmodel for his writing career. This usually involves spending time with the artist and having some promotional posters made. I've dropped these off with blogs all over the world when visiting them to promote the newest book. To be honest, I've gathered up some sweet outfits this way.

Craig let me have a short story in his first Experimental Notebook, and I got to fill in for a bomb defusing robot that sunk in a river. Every once in a while it's great to use some of my skills beyond secretarial and clerical.

To be honest, with Craig working a full time job, and writing on his off days, I have a lot of free time around the cabin. This is why I scored the old Airstream and turned it into a radio station. My shows are some of the most popular on this blog, and they usually get a lot of shares. I've gotten email from authors who sold well on the day of the broadcast.

I've interviewed some dark lords, ghosts, a super spy, a shipwreck victim, a cat burglar, a drite, and even a lawyer. Just, so many cool characters. I'd love to interview your character too.

Lately I've been working on the release of the Second Experimental Notebook, including going on an extensive blog tour myself. Then I set up all the Halloween promotions and discounts.

Between Craig's fits of writing, it can get lonely out at the cabin. I mean, I have great wifi and Amazon will deliver anything I buy online. Still, it's nice to chat with people once in a while. So here's my next idea.

Does anyone out there want me to ask your questions on the air? If we could get enough of them, I might make a show where I answer your questions. You know, something like this: “Little Johnny, from Port Aransas, wants to know if I always dress this way around the writing cabin, and he's asking for a friend.”

I'd even be willing to include a link to your blog or Facebook in the questions. That way I could stockpile them for when I don't have a guest, but when I read them on the air, you would still get a link out there.

Okay, enough about that. It's almost Halloween and Craig and I always enjoy that. Even if it's quiet here, he can have a pumpkin beer and we can listen to the wolves howl at night. I've gathered up a few Halloween themed posters over the years, and I think I'll share them with you again. They make great backgrounds on your iPads and cell phones. I'll include them on the website.

For Lisa Burton Radio, I'm Lisa Burton — and send me your characters to interview.



Filed under Lisa Burton Radio

Last scoop of Macabre Macaroni this year

The Zombie Fighters

We stood back to back in the old basement. Joey held his sword off to his left, and I held mine up with the blade in front of my face. We made a deadly team, but the zombie horde upstairs would be the biggest one we’d ever faced.

Joey turned his San Diego Padres cap around backwards. “Ready?”

“As I’ll ever be.” I rushed the stairway with Joey at my heels.

The zombies almost looked surprised. I probably imagined it, because they don’t have any emotions or feelings. They’d already eaten half the families in town, and I recognized a few of them as having been local people. I stepped into the shell of the burned out house and made sure to move far enough that Joey could support me.

I lowered my sword and thrust through the face of the first one, making sure to slice on the draw so my blade wouldn’t get stuck. He fell in a heap of stinking rotten flesh, and I swung at one to my right.

Joey gave a masterful stroke, slicing completely through one Zombie and into the skull of the one beside it. “That was my Tony Gwynn swing, you bastards.”

“Looks like you hit a double. There’s home runs waiting in the other room.”

We worked our way through the sooty kitchen and into the living room. Seventeen of the damned things greeted us there.

The fight was long and bloody. Joey went to his knees, but I rescued him before he got bitten. That only left the upstairs bedrooms to clear. Should be a breeze after what we’d already accomplished.

Joey led the way up this staircase, and we took care to avoid the ledge. The fire destroyed the railing and it was a long drop.

We kicked open doors and slashed our way room by room until we were the only things left standing.

The last room looked like it must have been the master bedroom. The fire damaged it more than the others. Even the exterior wall and roof were gone.

I tested the floor with each step. No sense surviving the zombies and falling through a crumbling floor. I looked out towards town, and everything was quiet as the sun dipped behind a ridge. More zombies moved though the forest, and they were coming our way.

Joey grabbed a ruined pillowcase and hung it from a nail.

“What’s that for?”

“It’s our flag. This is where we make our stand. If we get split up, we meet back here.”

“Good idea. This can be our fort.” I dropped my stick-sword onto the sooty floor. “Only we’ll have to defend it tomorrow.”

“But they’re almost here.”

I wrapped an arm around my brother’s shoulder. “The street lights came on. You know how mom gets if we don’t go home right away. Schools out now, we have all summer to defend our fort.”


This is my reminder that I have two books of short stories and micro-fiction available. There are plenty of Halloween suitable stories among these pages.

The best news is they are only 99¢ each. If you enjoyed Macabre Macaroni this year, maybe these books are what you’re looking for.

Book one

Book two


Filed under Short Stories & Vignettes

My Birthday Gift to You

That’s right, today marks one more orbit around the sun for me. I’ve been hitting it hard on the promotional front, and am about out of paranormal stories to push. Will O’ the Wisp is on an extensive blog tour, but that doesn’t leave much to do around here.

That means I need to stretch a bit to fit this into the Halloween theme. It’s actually an epic fantasy, but it contains lots of things that could be considered monsters. (If you look at them with your peripheral vision.)

Regular followers know I like to mash things up. This is a Greco-Roman fantasy with some of the traditional Germanic characters thrown in too. Elves, dwarves, and goblins are European in nature, so I decided they must have existed further south too.

They are in the mix with cyclops, satyrs, Amazons, and centaurs. In this world, Remus killed Romulus and the Remsians are the power instead of the Romans.

This is the story of Cobby, a Southern Dwarf. He loses his human family in an attack by some people who look suspiciously like Atlanteans. This sends him on a journey to discover his true heritage. He meets other downtrodden races along the way and seems to collect them all. Eventually it becomes a sizeable band.

It’s like Homer included Exodus in some kind of, well, mashup. I think it’s a fun story, and for my birthday it’s absolutely free. One day only. Hope you enjoy it.

Hail Cobby

This is one of Lisa’s paper doll outfits. You can download your own under the Look Free Stuff page up at the top of this site.

You can get your free copy of The Cock of the South at this link. (LINK)

I don’t know what time Amazon starts these things, and the international date line may come into play in your location.


Update: One of my followers said the link didn’t work for him. I used the universal link generator, but he suggested this alternate

Also this happened:

Product Details




Filed under Writing

Busy day looking forward to a dead evening

That's right, Ash vs the Evil Dead plus The Walking Dead tonight. Maybe Rick and Daryl need a visit from Ash Williams.

Before all the fun starts, I worked on some more projects today. I wrote and scheduled two posts for this week. One involves a special promotion tomorrow, and I'd appreciate any help with the sharing buttons you can lend. I'm trying to keep the October momentum going through the end of the month.

The other post is the final Macabre Macaroni story of 2016. I really appreciate all the comments I've been getting on these, and they have been a lot of fun.

I also started an October assessment post. It's going to be a long post and it will go up on the Story Empire blog on Halloween. It was hard for me to not post something on theme, but we try to target authors on that site, and my assessment may help some of you. It would be easier if I could post it a week into November, but that isn't my turn. I can add some data to it from this week, and out the door it goes.

Maybe something will occur to me for this blog that has a Halloween theme. Last year Lisa and I tried to make a monster that turned into a meatloaf.

In other news, Lisa Burton Radio has a lot of interviews in progress, but none ready for this week. These things take time to put together, and the guest author has to consider timing too. I understand completely, and agree with this approach. This means I may skip it this week. If I'm feeling ambitious I may run something out featuring Lisa. (You know, as soon as I figure out what.) The takeaway here is that Lisa is always looking for guests. Keep those cards and letters coming folks.

The end of October is within sight. It's been a loooong month of promotions for me. As most of you know, I really don't like promotion. I decided to bite the bullet and force myself to dedicate a month. I'm really looking forward to November when I'll do a bit of reading and get back to my work-in-progress.


Filed under Blogging, Writing

The Idea Mill #25

The articles have piled up once more, and it's time to visit the old Idea Mill again. There are a lot of new followers of Entertaining Stories, and for you these are intended to inspire your imagination. Maybe you'll see something to include in your next speculative story, maybe it will inspire a whole series. Again for the new folks, there is a category in the sidebar if you'd like to check any previous posts.

Our first article involves monkeys and evolution once again. We had one where the theory was that a species of baboon had trained a species of wolf to help them in foraging.

This time capuchin monkeys are banging rocks together. Probably not huge news in itself. They use the rocks like tools to get minerals or food. The interesting part is the monkeys create concoidal flakes from the process of striking the rocks together. Archaeologists are questioning some of their evidence of early humans, because monkeys are creating something that had been attributed as being solely human activity. You can read the article here.

That's interesting, and calls into question the source of some early flaking activity, but this is a speculative fiction blog. It isn't a huge leap of the imagination to have one monkey start using the sharp flakes he creates. Before too long, monkeys enter the stone age. Sounds like a good basis for a lost world type story to me. Imagine exploring a place where arboreal monkeys rain down spears tipped with flint heads upon you.

Maybe it doesn't fuel an entire story. Maybe scientists spend the summer documenting this unusual activity only to encounter something worse. Maybe they find other signs of early human activity, like using the flint to make fires. It might make a great story similar to a mashup of Watership Downs and Lord of the Flies, where the monkeys make teams and fight for dominance.

The second article involves a sunken German submarine from World War One. This thing is on the bottom of the ocean, just off the coast of Scotland. There really isn't too much remarkable, but it's pretty interesting. The interesting part is that some of the crew survived. The captain said they lost the ship when they were attacked by a sea monster. Read about the discovery here.

Now I'm reasonably sure the guy is full of crap, but why not make it part of a story? You could take it as is, or make the statement into the catalyst for an adventure to look for evidence of a sea monster. Heck, it's close enough to Scotland to make the Loch Ness Monster part of your story.

Finally, this article was sent to Lisa Burton, my assistant, by Planetary Defense Command. The Commander is friends with Lisa on Facebook, and he thought we would like this article. It's about a dedicated train line to carry the dead, and their mourners, to the cemetery. (And back, you know, for the mourners at least.) It seems that London, like most old world cities, was running out of places to inter the dead. The line was met with some resistance, because horse drawn hearses were the preferred method of the day.

They acquired a massive amount of land outside the city, but it was too far for funeral processions and horses to deal with. Thus, the train line. The article is full of good period specific information about storing and shipping the bodies too. Even the photographs are wonderful. It would make a good setting in your Victorian crime novel. Characters who work along the project would also be very interesting. I can see detectives from Scotland Yard riding along to catch a Jack-the-Ripper type character. Maybe your character is one of the caterers who work at the cemetery to feed the mourners. It seems like the perfect setting for a ghost story too. Ghost trains, haunted stations, modern apartments built in the old buildings that still have ghosts in them. Maybe a grave robber ring. There are so many possibilities.

It's a great article without any fiction. It includes the Nazi bombing that put it under, and how automobile hearses replaced it. Thank you Commander for this great article. Do yourself a favor and read it here.

This is the place where I outline a corny story that includes all the elements. Submarines and sea monsters I can weave into a lost world with stone age monkeys. German subs and sea monsters, can work into the haunted railroad with sailors trying to escape by stealing the train. I just don't see how I can get stone age monkeys and a haunted railroad into the same story. Maybe I can borrow the London zoo, but I'm not feeling it. I'm running up the white flag on this one.

Tell me in the comments if you can figure out how to do it.

What kind of stories would you use these elements in. Maybe you like your advanced primates on another planet, or your funeral train is a spaceship to bring space pioneers back to Earth for burial. Let me hear it folks.


Filed under The Idea Mill

How Horror Fiction Can Make Us Better Writers

Kristen Lamb has a great post about the difference between real conflict and artificial conflict. And she even manages to use the horror genre to illustrate her points in time for Halloween.

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Frederik Andreasson Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Frederik Andreasson

Since we are coming up on Halloween, I’d like to take a moment to talk about my favorite genre—horror. I can’t get enough of it. It is a genre that fascinates me simply because I believe it is the most difficult genre to write. Sure it was probably easier back in the days that movie audiences ran screaming from the man in a really bad plastic ant outfit. But these days? As desensitized as we have become? Unsettling people is no simple task.

That’s why I’d like to talk about it today because no matter what type of fiction we write, we can learn a lot from what horror authors do well.

Powerful fiction mines the darkest, deepest, grittiest areas of the soul. GREAT fiction holds a mirror to man and society and offers messages that go beyond the plot.


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Filed under Uncategorized

Kind of an Odd Day

How is, or did, everyone survive without Twitter and several other forms of media? Here in Idaho, Twitter has been down all day due to a malicious hacker who decided we all have better things to do. (we probably do, but that’s not his choice to make.)

For me, it prevented some of my promotional efforts. Today was supposed to be a light day anyway, but I have a couple of things going on I’d like to spread the word about. I’ll just regroup and mention them here.

First, the Paranormal Bar & Grille is at the CBY Book Club today. This post has excerpts from all the books being promoted. I’d appreciate it if people would check it out, and Twitter isn’t available. Here is the link (LINK), maybe you’ll find your next great reading adventure.

Second, my Amazon Giveaway is still going on. It has exceeded my expectation, because I set it up to run until the 30th of this month and it’s almost over. I purchased five copies of Will O’ the Wisp to giveaway. The odd thing is that three of them went in about 30 hours, the fourth one went about ten hours later. Now it’s been seven days, and that last copy is still there. I really don’t want to run a second giveaway for one copy. Therefore; I’ll give you a little inside information.

When I set this up, I had several options. One invoved the first five contestants winning the prizes. The second one involved some kind of convoluted algebraic thing that I couldn’t make much use of. The third one is what I did. It works like this, pick a magic number and every multiple of that number wins a book until they’re all gone. I chose the magic number of 70. Someone won at 70, 140, 210, etc.

Right now the entrants are standing at 338. This means the odds of winning this thing are astronomical right now. You just have to be the one to hit 350 on the nose. If anyone is interested, Will O’ the Wisp is a great Halloween story. Here is the contest link (LINK)

Third, I’ve compared notes with some of my Story Empire compatriots, and the entrants into our various scavenger hunts have slowed down. There are ten Amazon Gift Cards you could win. You can spend these on anything you like, and aren’t limited to books. In addition, there are five ebooks being handed out. But wait, there’s more. There is also a Rafflecopter for a larger Amazon Card that doesn’t even require any thought.

The best page to link to is the Paranormal Bar & Grill homepage. Right in the middle is the path to the Rafflecopter. At the bottom are links to the individual scavenger hunts. Just pick an author’s name and have fun. Here is the link to get in on these prizes (Also a LINK)

Like I said, Twitter is a decent place to share this info, but it’s not available right now. Besides, I’d like to see one of you guys win something anyway. When my month of promotion ends, I’m going to post an assessment, but I’ll probably post it over at Story Empire. That site needs some love too.

It sounds like Old What’s Her Face and I are going out for pizza and beer tonight. That means I drink beer while she goes deeper into the Boise Townsquare Mall and spends money. At least today is payday. There is no baseball tonight, and Boise State played last night. I’ll take my phone, maybe some of you will comment here.


Filed under Writing