Author Talk – Craig Boyack

I got invited to an interview over at Don Massenzio’s blog today. Please take a look, and consider following this great blogger.

Don Massenzio's Blog

CraigToday we sit down with author and blogger Craig Boyack to talk about his latest work, his influences, and writing in general. Please enjoy this interview with this talented author.


DM:  What is the title and genre of the book you want to tell us about?

CB: Thanks, Don. I’m here to tell everyone about The Playground. I’m calling it a paranormal adventure with science fiction sprinkles on top.

DM: Can you summarize your book in one sentence?

CB: No, ha ha. Let’s try this: A social network geared toward children is brainwashing them into a private army.

DM: Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?

CB: This book has some adult themes, so it isn’t for the kids. After that, it’s for those who enjoy a thrill ride in speculative fiction.

DM: How did you come up with the title?

CB: The network is…

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A day of celebration

I got to the writing cabin late today. I have family responsibilities on Sundays, and won't shirk those. I went into my office and started on all the things a writer has to keep up with.

I answered several emails, checked Twitter and Facebook, then proceeded to WordPress. Lisa* brought me some coffee, and I looked away from the computer. “Guess who just won a Planetary Award?”

“I don't know, who?”

“Me. My short story, Something in the Water, won a Planetary Award over at Planetary Defense Command.”

“Oh.”

“I thought you'd be more excited. I'm excited.”

“It would have been nice to have Bombshell Squad win something.”

“I get your point, but Something in the Water was a fun story, and it caught the judge's attention. Besides, you've been getting plenty of attention. Wild Concept sold some copies during its 99¢ sale, and the UK sale is still going on. They may even surpass the US store.”

“I suppose. It's just that you've grown as a writer. Bombshell Squad is a little better writing than Wild Concept.”

“I don't get your point. Something in the Water is just as recent, and reflects the same amount of growth as a writer.”

“Should we celebrate, or something?”

“I think we should. We'll get the enchanted beer horns filled up and drink them dry. Make sure you post a picture of the haunted biplane on the blog too. People may want it for a phone background, or even a computer. Besides, you're in the picture, and some people might like that too.”

“That's a good idea. I love my flight jacket.” Her eyelashes fluttered, and I knew she was online.

Lisa scowled. “I have some bad news too. It looks like someone held a kegger out at the island. They defaced the Moai with spray paint and left garbage everywhere.”

“That sucks, why do people have to act like that?”

“Don't know. Do you want me to take a sandblaster out there and try to clean it up?”

“No. Today we celebrate. Drop a note to the National Park Service fairies. They'll take care of it.”

“You're not going to make those poor fairies scrub those giant statues, are you?”

“It's kind of their job, but no. They use dermestid beetles.”

Lisa's eyelashes fluttered again as she searched the Internet. “Gross, those are the kind of beetles scientists use to strip bones clean.”

“Right, they use them for museum displays. I think even the cops use them to study the bones of murder victims. The fairies keep a large herd of them, because they eat garbage and even spray paint.”

<Snort>

“What?”

“Do the fairies use tiny little dehorning saws and branding irons?”

“I have no idea. I'll bet they have an informational page on their website. You should check it out.”

“I'm going to, and if they don't I'm going to shoot them an email.”

“For right now, let's celebrate.” I whistled for the enchanted beer horns, and they both trumpeted. Lisa filled them up while they wagged their tails and helped us celebrate. Lisa doesn't need to eat or drink, so I'll probably empty both of them myself.

*Lisa is my robotic personal assistant, and the spokesmodel for my books. She even has her own Facebook Page.

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2015 Winners

I’m a winner! I’m so excited, you have no idea. Visit Planetary Defense Command and check it out. Consider following this great blog while you’re there.

Planetary Awards

We had a number of ties this year, so to break them, I’m putting on my tin-pot dictator helmet and instituting arbitrary, last-minute, unannounced rule changes.

In the ‘best short story’ category, the new tiebreaking rule is: the shorter story wins. The winning short story for 2015 is “Something in the Water” by C.S. Boyack, found in The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack.

Featured Image -- 77

I’m combining the novel categories, so there is a single ‘best novel’. I’m also allowing a partially-completed vote to break a tie, so the winning novel for 2015 is Torchship, by Karl Gallagher.

Torchship

I appreciate all the book bloggers who participated in the nomination and voting process. Over the course of 2016, I plan to re-blog your credentialing posts as a thank you.

New ideas and suggestions for changes to the 2016 Planetary Awards are welcome in the comments section.

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Chipping away at things

I allowed myself to sleep in this morning. I think I could have lasted another hour, except for my wild alarm clock. There was a duck quacking right outside my window. It's kind of funny when you think about it. I still got to sleep in, but it is what it is. What do you think possessed him to come in my yard and act like that? I expect this out of the tiny birds, but waterfowl should be better behaved.

When I got up, my daughter was already downstairs. Saturday is usually my best writing day, but this Saturday was going to have to be a compromise.

I managed to get my wallpaper changed for May. It is a little bit cramped on my iPad, but it looks great on the Mac. I'm going to assume it looks great on PCs and laptops. I'm sure it never looks good on phones, but I can't help that.

I assembled next week's Lisa Burton Radio post, and it promises to be a fun one. I also spent some time working on future posts in this arena, and it looks like I'll be able to keep it going for a while.

I checked my sales page, and it looks like a few more sales recently, and a few pages read. The sales are mostly due to the Wild Concept sale, but there are a few Experimental Notebooks, and Playgrounds mixed in. The pages read are mostly The Playground.

I received a couple of invitations, and need to ponder them. I love challenging assignments, so I'll have to see what I can come up with here. I have about a third of one in mind, and maybe my Muse will show up and inspire me for the rest.

I found a great new 5 star review for Experimental Notebook. The reviewer said, “Mr. Boyack must be a strange man. I like the way he thinks.”

You know, I probably am a strange man, because this quote gives me great pleasure. I've been cracking up about it since last night. Besides that, 5 stars is awesome! Reviews have been really hard to get lately, so I'm thrilled.

I played around a bit more with my art app. I'm getting a big kick out of messing with the blog banner. I have a bunch of ideas, but not a lot of talent. We'll all find out together if I can pull it off.

I spent some time surfing around for stuff to use in Lisa's artwork. It seems like I have more ideas than money to get the art made. This round is so I can stockpile stuff to use on the blog, Facebook, etc. I have other ideas for specific book promotions. I consider this to be research, but it isn't totally unpleasant. There are a lot of retro pinup models online these days. It kind of makes me want another antique car. I used to have one I took to car shows in the last century.

Other than that, I haven't been very productive. The new issue of Heavy Metal arrived the other day, but I haven't taken the wrapper off yet. My wife wants to take me for beer and pizza tonight, so that's good. I know it's her plan to trick me into shopping for shirts at the mall. I need some new short sleeve shirts, and beer is always good. I'm going to go along with her nefarious plan, and not tell her I'm onto her.

Hope you guys are having a great weekend.

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Craig Boyack – Guest Post: Short Story Writing

Michelle Rene Goodhew invited me to tell her fans how I came to write short form fiction. Check it out, and consider following her interesting blog while you’re there.

Mundus Media Ink

Guest Blog Template copy

I really appreciate the invitation, and the topic challenge. I never really put much thought into how I came to write short form stuff. It kind of evolved, but reflecting upon that, hopefully, leads me to a good article.

Once upon a time, I wanted to write a novel. I picked up my iPad and started typing away with no idea what I was doing. I had no idea what the rules were, or that they even existed. Looking back, it was one of the most enjoyable experiences of my writing career.

The final product sucked, but I didn’t know that at the time. I kind of wandered from one cool idea to the next without much of a game plan. What I wound up with was quite a bit like a television series. The same characters engaged in tiny vignettes that were kind of cool. Archaeologist might look at…

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The Power of Six, on Lisa Burton Radio

Coming at you with one point twenty-one jigawatts of power, this is Lisa Burton Radio. I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl, and today we’re having our first ever open-mike show.

I brought some old albums, like The Pretenders, and some Joan Jett if we run into a soft patch. So let’s get those phones ringing.

It looks like we have a caller already. “Hello caller, welcome to the show.”

“Show? What show?”

“This is Lisa Burton Radio. What’s your name, please?”

“I’m Mark, in Maintenance. Listen, I know this sounds crazy, but I’m trapped and need your help.”

“Shouldn’t you be calling emergency services? I’m just a radio host.”

“Don’t you think I tried that. The phones are out in the entire building. Maybe your broadcast will reach someone who can help me.”

“Where are you calling from?”

“I broke into the lab. There’s a box here, labeled Trans-Narrative Broadcast. No idea what it does. There’s only one button on it, I pressed it and somehow got you. Now can you help or not?”

“I’ll try. What seems to be the problem, Mark?”

“Please don’t think I’m crazy, but, but, the whole building is filled with these … Creatures.”

“Creatures. Like Aliens?”

“No, nothing like that. They were humans a moment ago. My colleagues. Then they started changing. They’re… Deformed. Like an amputated mass of flesh and metal.”

“Like cyborgs?”

“Yeah, like monsters.”

“Cyborgs aren’t monsters.”

“Well these are. They kill everyone they meet. Or change them into one of them. I used a maintenance shaft to flee to the lab. I hoped to meet someone, but the lab is empty.”

“Did the cyborgs kill them?”

“No idea. You know, maybe a virus got into the building. They work on some pretty weird stuff around here. Oh God, what do I do?”

“Okay, keep calm. Where are you?”

“Do you know the new AI-controlled building in the city center? The one that just opened up last month?”

“Sorry, haven’t heard of it.”

“Where the hell have you been living lady? Under a–”

“Hooking up my umbilical cable and tracing your call. Got you, the Internet says your building is entirely run by artificial intelligence. Have you tried talking to the building? Maybe it can show you a way out.”

“All the terminals here are busted. Perhaps there’s one outside. No way I’m heading out there, though.”

“The Internet site says the AI was programmed by someone named Nicholas Rossis, have you tried reaching him?”

“I already told you the phones are out. How about you dial the cops instead of asking all these questions? Or, better yet, the Army. Wait, hang on–”

“What? What’s happening, Mark?”

“It’s a chopper. Forget calling the cops. It looks like the entire Police Department is out there. Oh God, they can’t get in.”

“Stay with me. Craig’s texting me. He says your story sounds familiar, and you have to head out.”

“Are you nuts? I’m not leaving. Those things are everywhere.”

“Mark, listen to me. You have to go, right now. The corridor is empty. Head West. You’ll meet the Head of the medical sector and his secretary. You can all use the elevator to get out.”

“I’m not doing that. You’re supposed to use the stairs in case of an emergency.”

“Yeah, if the emergency is an earthquake or fire. The rules change in the case of a mutant hoard attack.”

“Elevator, then what?”

“It looks like the AI has control after that. Should be simple after you reach the elevator.”

“Fine, but if this thing has batteries, I’m taking you with me. I just have to unplug it, and then–”

“Mark? Are you still with us, Mark?”

“Mark?… Sorry listeners, we seem to have lost the connection. If you want to find out what happened to Mark, you can read the whole story over at Nicholas Rossis’ blog.”

***

Nicholas is a versatile author, and has written three books of short stories. I’ve read two of them and can vouch for them.

This is Nicholas’ newest book. He has it on sale until the end of the month for 99¢. Take advantage of this offer, and pick up your copy here, Honest Fibs.

This is Nicholas’ second book of short stories, and it’s a good one. Check out Infinite Waters.

 

 

The Power of Six is the one that’s on sale for 99¢. Don’t miss out on this promotion. This is where Mark’s story is, and after you read it on Nicholas’ blog, come back and pick up your copy.

 

Nicholas C. Rossis lives to write and does so from his cottage on the edge of a magical forest in Athens, Greece. When not composing epic fantasies or short sci-fi stories, he chats with fans and colleagues, writes blog posts, walks his dog, and enjoys the antics of his baby daughter and two silly cats, all of whom claim his lap as home. His children’s book, Runaway Smile, has won the Gellett Burgess Children’s Book Award.

What readers are saying about Nick’s fantasies:

“Most avid readers still have books from their childhood which they read over and over again. ‘Runaway Smile’ has joined the list.”

“From the very first sentence I realized I was not reading a book, I was going on an adventure.”

For more on Nick or just to chat, visit him on his blog: www.nicholasrossis.me or on:

Amazon

Facebook

Twitter

Google+

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Feels like old times again #amwriting

I raced through social media early this morning. I wanted to force myself to take up the keyboard once more.

This led to +/- 2000 new words on The Yak Guy project. Ted, the yak guy, finally gets to be with the girl of his dreams. I have a hard time writing these scenes, but I think it came out okay. (I’m one of those males who never got a lot of female attention. Therefore, I’ll just make it up.) The story is from Ted’s point of view, so it might not be as romantic as if it were from the woman’s viewpoint.

Next on the list, Ted has to second guess the whole thing, and wonder what it all means. Then he gets to meet her dad and get the crap beat out of him. By modern standards, I ought to have him getting beat up pretty fast. I kind of want to have him question everything though. This is a conundrum for me. My plan is to write it my way, and see if it needs to be eliminated later on.

I got two requests for a review copy of The Playground, and sent both of them out. (Booyah) I hope the reviewers enjoy it. It’s a little more gritty than my usual fare. Maybe the contrast between The Playground and yak guy’s love scene is causing a short in my brain.

I got asked why I didn’t set up the 99¢ sale for Wild Concept in the UK store. It’s because I didn’t know I had to. I thought it happened everywhere. Turns out those are the only markets available to hold a sale. If you’re completely out of those markets, let me know and I’ll find a way to fix you up. Does this mean I need to start using these things £ or €? Look, it’s a man in a top hat with a big mustache =):€

The sale starts in the UK sometime on the 28th. Then I returned to WhatsApp and let them know. There isn’t much point if I don’t say something about it. Thus, the mention here too.

I sent out another Lisa Burton Radio kit, and finalized another post for one of those spots. I have several partial posts out in cyber space, tomorrow’s is pre-scheduled, and another one nearly final. I’m feeling pretty good about this spot today. We have some fun characters coming up.

Then I got a cool request to write a guest post about how I started writing short stories. This one made me think, because it just kind of happened. I love it when someone asks a question that makes me assess something. I wrote about 800-900 words of blog post and sent it out too.

Finally, I picked up my art app and messed around with my banner some more. I’m really not an artist, but I can cut out and paste things. If it looks cheesy, I’m okay with that. I’m all about the cheese here at Entertaining Stories.

I love it when I have a productive day, and wish there were more like this one.

I should probably return to social media and promote the Wild Concept Sale, and The Playground. I feel like such a book whore, but I don’t see any other way to get the word out. I’ll probably address some of that this afternoon. I found a new place to do paid promotion, but I have to make my own artwork. It’s also kind of complicated to set up. I’ve been whining about it for weeks, and would probably do better to cobble something together and quit crying about it. Getting closer on this front.

Finally, today is my daughter’s birthday. She went to Sun Valley to party with friends, but is due home today. We have plans to go to dinner somewhere tonight. That will be fun too.

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