Tell Me a Story Craig Boyack

I had the chance to be interviewed over the weekend, at Tell Me A Story. I had a great time chatting with Annette about my fiction projects. If you’re dying to hear my voice, the podcasts are in alphabetical order, so B-O-Y… She even gave me a cool pirate style banner.

Annette Rochelle Aben

Speculative Fiction Author, C.S. Boyack is featured on Tell Me a Story

In this podcast, you’ll get to know more about magical hats, a yak guy and a robot gal named Lisa Burton!

 Entertaining Stories are his specialty!

Of course, this is what Craig HAS put forth, but what does he have on the horizon? Listen and find out.

You can also visit his BLOG and keep abreast of all things speculative!

All the podcasts of Tell Me a Story are listed in alphabetical order, which includes that of Craig Boyack

Tell Me a Story is a presentation of The Magic Happens Radio Network hosted in The Magic Happens Magazine

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When you want to scream, but shouldn’t

Ahh, writing vacation-time. It sounds lovely. It has such promise to it. Time to sling words at my iPad and build something wonderful.

It didn’t work out like that, and I regret using my vacation time for this. Here’s how it came out. A writing day, for me, is never a day. It’s a matter of hours, usually in the morning. When my wife is at work, I get quality time to chip away at my projects. She’s doesn’t work dawn to dusk, however. Her shift at the hospital usually puts her home around noon. You can see how a day get’s trimmed down to six hours or so, at best.

Wednesday was my flex day. I would have gotten it off regardless of vacation time. My wife got off at 8:00 that morning. I managed 1700 new words before my house got noisy, and bulldogs went berserk over playtime, etc.

Last weekend, we got the camper winterized. The man’s first move was to look at our roof and tell us we needed to have the entire roof recaulked, and quoted us a price of $900. (Dennis Dillon RV, in case you’re keeping score.) I’ve been around a scam or two in my day, and did not bite.

When a service costs more than my house payment, I tend to dig a bit deeper. It turns out my brother had his done in Elko, Nevada, for $175. He did this, because he didn’t have time, but said it was fairly easy to do.

My first idea was to tow the sucker several hundred miles and get it done there. Elko is a ridiculously expensive place to have anything done, but at least it’s cheaper than this clown wanted.

It turns out, my brother had all the time in the world right now, so he wanted to come up and look at my camper. We made arrangements for him to come up Thursday.

My wife was off Thursday, and it wasn’t a writing day anyway. Good deal, right?

He never got here until late afternoon. We looked at the roof, and he said the skylights and vents needed to be caulked, but the rest of it was fine. However, moving into Mountain Standard Time, we were out of daylight. We dragged the camper home, and waited until morning.

Frost killed some of the momentum, because this requires a dry environment to work properly. We went to the store and bought four tubes of caulk, just in case. Turns out these weren’t cheap, and I was into it about sixty bucks.

By mid-day, we were able to remove the old sealant, and do the caulking. We weren’t cheap about laying down the beads either; however, we only used one tube of caulk.

My wife had to work Friday, but my writing day was lost. Don’t get me wrong, visiting with my brother, and just hanging out with him was wonderful. I never regret spending time with family.

After we finished, we returned the unused caulk for a refund. In other words, I spent fifteen dollars to do what Dennis Dillon RV wanted to charge me $900 for. Oh, there was pizza, beer, and other expense involved, but you get my point.

Today, he didn’t hit the road until about 10:30. We did some more visiting over coffee this time. I really enjoyed our time together… but the writing time today is a total bust too. My wife will be here soon, and that’s all she wrote.

Tomorrow, Sunday, is the day I call my parents. This destroys Sunday mornings as writing time. My wife has to work again, but it is what it is.

We’re both off Monday, for Veteran’s Day. This means no quality time for writing purposes. Six glorious days turned into a few hours Wednesday morning.

My writer’s soul wants to tear shit up and burn it to the ground. I wish I’d never wasted my vacation time on this crap. We could have visited and fiddled with the camper on the normal days I get off and it would have worked out the same.

There is always something to do at the office, and I wish I’d have just went to work. When I return on Tuesday, I’ll be behind again, but didn’t get to do what I wanted with my vacation time.

This kind of thing frequently happens to me. Life tends to throw these curveballs my way more often than not. I’ve actually gotten about four hours of writing time in the last month, and they were all last Wednesday.

This is an author’s blog, and I try to give it to you warts and all. Sometimes I’ve been know to write 10,000 new words in one day. Sometimes I get 1700 in a month. We have real lives too, and life tends to get in the way.

I’ve learned to be grateful for other things over time. I got to visit with my brother, which rarely happens. I saved $885 that I don’t have too. This week, I got what I needed. This song has become the theme of my life. Maybe you can relate to it.

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The Idea Mill #35

We haven’t been down to the Idea Mill for about seven months. To be honest, I’ve been to busy in other areas to do the research. I still have my feeds, but there hasn’t been a lot to get excited about. There was the vampire burial of a baby, but we’ve had vampire burials on here before.

For those who are new to the Idea Mill, I believe speculative fiction needs a strong dose of reality behind it. We’re going to ask for a leap of faith, but we don’t want to ask for too many. These items are creepy on their own, and can add an air of realism to the stories we might write.

Let’s jump into our first topic. I won’t call it an article, because I never found a specific one. I’ve been researching what is called the Third Man Factor, or Syndrome. In a nutshell, there are many stories of someone being near death describing someone who helped them out. Later it was revealed that nobody was ever there.

These tales date all through history, from Arctic exploration to the Twin Towers. It’s actually kind of a stupid name, because human plus apparition equals two, but there it is. Here is the Wikipedia Entry for Third Man Syndrome.

This works really well for our paranormal tales. If I were to write it, I’d probably write it from the apparition’s point of view, only revealing that fact as my twist ending. How about a werewolf who is tormented by his human self while in lycanthrope form? You could play it for laughs almost like Play It Again Sam. What would you do with Third Man Syndrome?

Our next article is about Giant Hogweed. This is an invasive species that makes a few stinging nettles or even poison ivy look like amateurs. It causes “painful burns, permanent scarring, and even blindness.” It removes something from your skin that allows the sun to cook you like bacon. There are some graphic photos in the article, so I know you’ll want to look. Read the article here. This stuff even destroys the soil where it grows.

I see this as hazardous background to a story, any kind of story actually. Stress, tension, and pressure add something to every story. Why not have your detectives recover a body from a grove of this stuff. Even a temporary loss of vision could put your cop in a bad position when the bad guy comes looking for him.

Moving into the speculative arena, how about planting this stuff outside the treasure cave? Weapons tipped with Giant Hogweed sap, etc. Like I said, maybe not a main player, but useful just the same. Maybe you want to rub it all over someone’s jockstrap. What ideas do you have?

Finally, we have wifi being used to see behind closed doors. Let’s face it, wifi is everywhere now. Apparently, it can be used to spy on people, but not like you might think. This isn’t about your computer camera. It involves observing the radio waves and seeing how they distort around movement.

The article gives a neat depiction about a glass house with a wifi lightbulb inside. It seems as though they need to read the wifi signal from several different angles, kind of like triangulation. After that, they can map your house and determine if you are inside. Read the article here.

Obviously, in speculative fiction we can ramp this up. I have an idea of some kind of infrared vision with more detail. Imagine using drones to take a reading on the building, then the stalker can watch what happens inside. Maybe he sells the fact that you aren’t home to thieves. Maybe he has more nefarious things in mind. Maybe your private moments become the next internet viral video.

What kind of science fiction based horror can you make out of this one?

We usually end these with some kind of corny story outline based upon all of the elements I’ve presented. Here goes nothing.

Our main character is the number one suspect in the disappearance of an underage girl. His workplace told him to stop coming in until further notice. He spots a sequence of drones circling his house. When he looks outside, the police are taking up positions based upon what they learn from wifi spying.

He slips into the cellar and out into the dark before they bash down the door. If he can only find the girl it will clear his name. He wanders into the woods, where he gets tangled up with a patch of Giant Hogweed.

Burning from the sap, and in danger of losing his vision, he wanders deeper while calling out the girl’s name. His skin blisters and bleeds in the sunlight of the following day. His vision is nearly gone, and he’s near death.

The girl shows up and leads him out of the woods to a medical facility. It turns out the girl was never there and he imagined her the whole time.

At this point, I could turn this into an arrest and struggle tale, or have him return to the Giant Pigweed, rewounding himself so he can ask the girl where she is. This would be a tale of madness and mental anguish.

Think you can come up with something better? Be my guest. Use one, or all of them. Tell me about it in the comments. The more the merrier.

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Macabre Assessment

There is never a good time to assess a cluster of posts. The first one had longer to get discovered than the last one. This seems like as good a time as any to tally up some results that won’t teach me a damned thing.

Every year, I’m baffled by the results, and this year is no different. My favorite is never your favorite, and that’s okay. I’m not going to change my novel writing schedule based upon the assessment of 1000 word blog posts.

Your favorite story was the one called Flipping. It involved a property flipper who had a ghostly encounter inside his newest acquisition. I have to admit there was a strong character in this one, and I think that carried the banner to victory.

Your least favorite one was All the Time in the World. This one involved a time traveler who screwed his own timeline up beyond repair.

Dishonorable mention to Companionship, that involved a ghostly dog waiting for his owner in a rest home. It only had one more view than the time travel story did.

The rest fell somewhere in the middle. My favorite was Our Secret lives about two werewolves who hate each other in their human lives, but are mates when the full moon shows up.

You also liked the Halloween Pack about the app that created a monster. It had a certain Goosebumps quality to it that I thought was fun too.

What does it all mean? Nothing actually. Maybe it involved the day I posted, and the results would be completely different if I’d changed the order.

I’m leaning toward doing it again next year. It all depends upon life and what it throws at me. I write them for my own entertainment as much as anything, but I hope you enjoyed them too.

I’m not going to scrap any works in progress, or storyboards, and rush right into another haunted house story based upon these results. They’re just for us to have fun. Maybe to start a discussion.

There are a couple of points to make here. If you missed one, or just want to revisit them, they are under the “Short Stories & Vignettes” category in my sidebar. You might find some other interesting things there too.

Lastly, I want to touch upon the point that I have books available. If short stories and micro-fiction is your thing, I have either two or three collections depending upon how you score them. I say this, because The Enhanced League stories serve to tell a bigger tale overall. The Experimental Notebooks involve more true collections.

All of the short fiction is .99¢ on Amazon.

Lisa wants to know if there are any tricks to removing “Sharpie” marker from your skin.

Lisa Burton

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Planning and scheming

This is my flex day. I mentioned before that I work ten hour days, and get a rotating day off each week. We get the occasional three day weekend out of the deal, and this is one of mine. It also allows for a bit of manipulation if you watch the calendar. That’s what I’ve done for November.

My next flex day is Wednesday the 7th. I took vacation on the 8th and 9th. This means I’m off from the 7th through the 12th, because the 12th is a holiday. Burn 20 hours of vacation and get six days off. Not a bad deal.

This weekend is going to be all about clearing the decks. We’re taking the camper to have it winterized this afternoon. Since we got paid, we’ll probably work in date night. I can still get my Halloween tee shirt at Old Chicago if we hurry, and that’s likely where we’ll end up. Probably time to coil up the hoses and drain the water heater to keep ahead of the silt. I might even get a haircut, just to get it out of the way.

I’ll have time to work on some Lisa Burton Radio slots if anyone is interested. The recent ones have produced really well. Some of that has to do with the book being presented, but also the involvement of the author. The last few authors have shared everywhere, and are still sharing everywhere. I see the click throughs to Amazon too. Lisa could use another few guests right now.

I’ll probably keep polishing up Lanternfish this weekend.

During my vacation I want to hit it hard. There is a new story I started, and my work life just didn’t allow me time to do much with it. If I clear the decks this weekend, my vacation time is wide open to make some real progress.

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While the Bombs Fell, on #LisaBurtonRadio

Lisa Burton

Welcome all you air raid wardens, and Home Guard members. Put out that light, and turn your radio up. You’ve landed on Lisa Burton Radio, the only show that brings you the characters from the books you love. I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl, and I’m waiting for a call. I hope everything is okay.

“Hello. Yes, I’ll accept the charges. Haven’t heard of a collect call in a long time.”

“Hello … hello… is that Lisa?”

“This is Lisa. I was getting worried about you, Elsie. Is everything okay?

“I’m calling from our bomb shelter in the garden. The air raid siren went off just as I was calling you. I could hear the sound of the Jerry bombers in the distance as we climbed down the stairs. I am glad Father and Mother are here with me, I’m scared.”

“Thank God for the long cable. For those of us who don’t know, what’s it like in a bomb shelter?”

“Father and some helpers built our bomb shelter from sheets of galvanized corrugated steel which they inserted into a deep hole they dug in the garden. The steps leading into the shelter and the floor are made of concrete which makes it really cold down here. It is damp and the walls drip with water. It is crowded when we are all in here, Father, Mother with baby, Teddy, my older sisters, Jean, Wendy and Gillian and my older brothers, Joey and Reggie. We all sit on wooden benches along the two sides of the shelter and wait until the “all clear” siren sounds. Sometimes we have to sit here for a long time and Mother and my sisters knit socks for the war effort.

“I don’t like coming down here but it is better than being inside the house when the Jerry planes are flying over. Reggie and Joey told me that Bungay, that is the town where I live in Suffolk, was bombed when I was two years old. I don’t remember it as I was too young but they said the seven bombs were dropped by a Jerry bomber plane. They said the bangs were so loud it hurt your ears and all the windows in Earsham Street blew out.

“I also overheard Granny King telling Mother about the bombing of Norwich in the Spring. There were huge fires in the city and lots of people were killed and houses were destroyed. I don’t want my house destroyed. I hate Hitler. He is like an old witch all dressed in black and Granny King says he eats black bread.”

“It sounds like you’re doing well under the circumstances. It must be hard to live your normal life considering all that.”

“We are lucky, Lisa. We live on a farm and not in a city. Lots of the children living in the cities have been evacuated into the country and have to live with strangers. I live with my family and Father hasn’t been called up to fight in the war because he is a farmer. His job is to stay on the farm and look after his cows so that the people living in Bungay can have fresh milk every day. Father’s helpers had to go away to fight in the war and now Father has Mavis to help him on the farm. She is a land girl. Father was worried when he heard she was coming but she works very hard and is strong too. Joey and Reggie also help Father to milk the cows every day and to bottle the milk. Mavis mucks out the cow stalls though.

“We have more food to eat than people living in the cities and lots of milk and eggs. Mother says I must be grateful to have eggs to eat because they are rationed and most people have to eat powdered eggs if they get any eggs at all. I don’t like the eggs. They smell of fish and it makes me feel sick. Mother is very good at making the family good things to eat with the rations we have, vegetables from the garden and the rabbits that Father sometimes shoots on the farm. My sisters and I helped her make a delicious rabbit stew last week. It was so good and Mother made a suet pudding to go with it. There was so left over so we ate it with a bit of golden syrup for afters.

“Joey and Reggie often feel hungry when they go to bed. I don’t feel hungry because I am much smaller than they are and don’t have to walk a mile to school and back every day and help Father with the farm work.”

“Rationing sounds tough. Still, living on a farm does put you in a better position than some. You can have a garden, and the Nazis might be aiming more at the cities.”

“Yes, we have only been bombed that one time here in Bungay. The people living in London are bombed all the time. I would be even more scared if I lived there. We are lucky as we have a big American airbase nearby called RAF Bungay. Some of the men are billeted in canvas tents on Bungay Common. It does make me feel safer.

“Everyone in Bungay is very proud and excited about our own “Bungay Buckaroos” and their contribution of the German bombing campaign. The American aviators have better food rations than the British soldiers and they also have cigarettes, Wrigley’s chewing gum and nylon stockings. The girls all hope to have an American boyfriend so that they can have a pair of nylons. Sometimes my brothers and the other ask them for gum. They say “any gum, chum?” and sometimes one of the soldiers gives them a piece.

“Now that the Americans have joined the war, Father says we can’t lose.”

“That sounds positive.”

“It is, and it can’t go on forever. We are all very proud of Mr. Churchill, he is a great leader, and now that the Americans are helping, Father thinks the war will end soon. I don’t know what it will be like when the war ends but I hope I can have sweets every week and we can have a bigger fire. Ours is so small and I am cold all the time.”

“I am sorry you are often cold and hungry, but it sounds like the war won’t go on for much longer. You keep your head down, Elsie, and we’ll all wish you the best. Any closing remarks for our listeners today? We ought to wrap this up before the phones go down.”

“Thank you for speaking to me, Lisa. The “all clear” siren has just sounded so we are going back to our house. Goodbye and have a lovely evening.”

“You can read all about Elsie and her family in the book, While the Bombs Fell, by Robbie Cheadle and Elsie Hancy Eaton. I’ll post all the details on the website after we go off the air.

“Don’t forget to use those sharing buttons today. Even a simple tweet or Facebook share can really help an author out. I’m sure Robbie and Elsie would do it for you, when your character appears on the next Lisa Burton Radio.”

***

What was it like for children growing up in rural Suffolk during World War II?

Elsie and her family live in a small double story cottage in Bungay, Suffolk. Every night she lies awake listening anxiously for the sound of the German bomber planes. Often they come and the air raid siren sounds signaling that the family must leave their beds and venture out to the air raid shelter in the garden.

Despite, the war raging across the English Channel, daily life must continue with its highlights, such as Christmas and the traditional Boxing Day fox hunt, and its scary moments when Elsie learns the stories of Jack Frost and the ghostly and terrifying Black Shuck that haunts the coastline and countryside of East Anglia.

Includes some authentic WWII recipes.

Purchase Link

Robbie Cheadle was born in London in the United Kingdom. Her father died when she was three months old and her mother immigrated to South Africa with her tiny baby girl. Robbie has lived in Johannesburg, George and Cape Town in South Africa and attended fourteen different schools. This gave her lots of opportunities to meet new people and learn lots of social skills as she was frequently “the new girl”.

Robbie is a qualified Chartered Accountant and specialises in corporate finance with a specific interest in listed entities and stock markets. Robbie has written a number of publications on listing equities and debt instruments in Africa and foreign direct investment into Africa.

Robbie is married to Terence Cheadle and they have two lovely boys, Gregory and Michael. Michael (aged 11) is the co-author of the Sir Chocolate series of books and attends school in Johannesburg. Gregory (aged 14) is an avid reader and assists Robbie and Michael with filming and editing their YouTube videos and editing their books. Robbie is also the author of the new Silly Willy series the first of which, Silly Willy goes to Cape Town, is now available.

You can catch up with Robbie at the following locations:

Blog: https://bakeandwrite.co.za/

Blog: https://www.robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15584446.Robbie_Cheadle

Facebook: @SirChocolateBooks

Twitter: @bakeandwrite

Purchase Robbie and Michael Cheadle’s Books from:

https://www.amazon.com/author/robbiecheadle

OR

http://tinyurl.com/zdokqjr

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Something fun for Halloween

Short and quick today. I’m participating in a Halloween Book Blast. Check it out for a bunch of Halloween themed reading. https://sites.google.com/a/myaddictionisreading.com/halloween-book-blast-2018/home

Lisa Burton

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