#Bookreview – The Playground by C.S. Boyack

I’m still on the road today. This posted a couple of days ago, so I’m sharing it today. Robbie took the time to make a nice review post of The Playground. Stop over and say Hi. I’ll try to swing through tonight, but it depends upon when I get home.

Roberta Writes

Book reviews

What Amazon says

The hottest new toys of the Christmas season are the Playground Network dolls. They contain a worldwide social network for children. Except the network is controlled by a ruthless businessman with dreams of power.

To reach his goals he turns to the occult. Will our children make up his personal army? Could we have an enemy soldier in every home?

Gina Greybill is a cancer survivor who stumbles into her own brush with the paranormal. She wants nothing to do with it, but may be the only one who can bring down the Playground Network. To do it she’ll have to embrace her new situation, and recover the next generation of Playground software.

There is competition for the software in the form of a brutal thug named Clovis. He’s bigger, more ruthless, and more experienced. To top it all off, he has a head start.

The Playground…

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Nature Boy takes a drive

Work sent me across the state to do a project in Idaho Falls. I went in for the morning shift, then hit the road about noon. I wanted to get here before dark and potentially rush hour.

Not that IF is such a frightening place, but I’m not overly familiar with it. I elected to cut across the desert. There is a freeway option, but it’s quite a bit longer.

I saw antelope all around Fairview, which is pretty normal. It’s also big game migration time, and I expected a few deer. The deer didn’t show. What did show was a badger out in a stubble field. He was booking along, trying to get to his burrow somewhere.

I was fairly content with seeing something unusual, but then I got near Sun Valley. My highway crosses the one up into SV. There is a stop sign, and usually quite a bit of traffic.

Drivers were starting to accordion as they approached the intersection, and I may have slowed down a bit too much. I think I irritated the guy behind me. My reasoning was the herd of six elk that just crossed the road. Five cows and a six-point bull directing where they went. I don’t think he even saw them, and they were standing in short grass as we drove by.

I wanted pictures of all this stuff, but the traffic never cooperated with me. I know how to call a badger back up from his hole, and have done it many times. I have some beautiful photos from back in my 35mm days. I just didn’t have 30 minutes to spare. This is a work trip, and I really didn’t want to get here in the dark.

Nature wasn’t finished with me, though. About two miles past the intersection, there were two raccoons grabbing for something out in a stubble field. You don’t normally see them out in broad daylight. I slowed to see if there was a parking area, but there wasn’t. I don’t know if it was grain, or some kind of bug that brought them out, but it was cool to see.

I turned back toward my drive, and a rooster pheasant stepped right in front of the car. It didn’t end well for the pheasant. I heard the thump. I never saw him in my rear-view mirror, so drove to the nearby chain-up area. Once around the car, and no sign of him. This isn’t my truck, it’s a small state vehicle, so I was a bit concerned about cracking a headlight, or damaging the grill. No damage at all.

I cruised through Craters of the Moon, and enjoyed the scenery, but the wildlife had called it a day. Other than one last herd of antelope near Arco, that was it.

It was a fun day, but I didn’t get any pictures. I may have had my best chance with the raccoons, but the pheasant threw me off my game. (Raccoons aren’t known for a rapid retreat.)

I need to surf through a couple of websites, then I may add some new words to my side project. Goodnight everyone.

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Guest Post – Serang by C.S. Boyack

I’m over at Jan’s place today with an excerpt from Serang. Stop over and learn about the child of the dragon. Jan is a great author and blogger. Check out her wares and site while you’re there. She’s well worth following and writes great stories.

Writing and Music

It is my pleasure to host author, C.S. Boyack on my blog today. I’m going to let him tell you about his neswest book, Serang!

Thanks for having me over today, Jan. I’m here to promote my newest book, Serang. This is supporting story to the Lanternfish trilogy, but it will stand on its own for those who haven’t read Voyage of the Lanternfish.

I’m
trying to let the hosts have some input about what I present, and Jan asked for
an excerpt. Excerpts are a great way to tease the story, so I’m happy to comply.

In this scene, Master Yong left Serang alone at their shack while
he went to a village for supplies. A heavy fog rolled in, and it’s stayed for days. He’s about to return, so we’ll pick up
the excerpt here:

Yong strode confidently onto the porch. Serang wiped her brow,
then flicked her…

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#TuesdayBookBlog ~ Serang by Craig Boyack #Adventure & Action @coldhandboyack

I’m visiting with Anita and Jaye today. The topic is the environment Serang is set in, and a couple of the supporting characters. Stop over and say hi. While you’re there check out this super supporter’s blog. They write books, post reviews, and really support the author community.

anita dawes and jaye marie

91BMomYMdjL.SR160,240_BG243,243,243.jpg

Monastic life is all about duty, service, harmony. For Serang, a young girl abandoned at the temple by her mother after the death of her father, that life becomes all she knows. The monks give her purpose and become her new family.

When political upheaval causes chaos throughout the land, Serang again loses everything and everyone she loves. Alone, she struggles to survive. She convinces a wandering monk to take her under his wing and complete her training. Thus, begin her adventures through strange lands and her trials to become a confident, capable, independent adult.

This is a coming of age story set in a fantasy world. It’s filled with monsters and martial arts, difficulties and dangers. The serious situations preclude the story from the levity of its predecessor, Voyage of the Lanternfish, but it provides a compelling look at the origin of one of the saga’s most fascinating characters.

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My side project

This year, I started dabbling with the idea of two projects at a time. I always thought I couldn’t do it, but it’s made me more productive in the long run.

My only explanation is that when I get stumped in my main project, I can pick up the other one and move ahead. Usually by doing this, it unwinds the issue I had in the main project.

With Viral Blues and Serang out the door, I can concentrate on new fiction once more. The main goal is HMS Lanternfish, but it’s been “at anchor” since September. My side project is close to completion, so I’m focusing more on it right now.

Old What’s Her Face was off all weekend, and that prevents new fiction from happening. It’s one thing to write a blog post, or exchange a few emails with various hosts, but new fiction requires concentration.

We decided to rearrange the garage yesterday, and that was a more productive use of time. We threw some things out, swept up, moved the shelving around, then brought in the patio furniture for the winter. It was a good day, and the weather was perfect.

She took over the television, so we had Hallmark Christmas while I gnashed my teeth and prayed for a national emergency or something to interrupt. After that it was some red carpet event followed by an awards show. I’d moved on to bourbon by then, so it didn’t matter.

Today is a different matter. She has to work today, and my time is my own. The side project is called Grinders. This one is a niche bit of science fiction called cyber -punk.

Grinders are a group of people who implant technology into their own bodies, or those of friends, in the hopes of becoming more than human. This goes on today, so I ran with it.

Cyber-punk usually doesn’t have deep plots. It’s more about exploring this futuristic world, and all the fantastic new things it holds. I kept my plot pretty basic, but there is one – just in case.

It is science fiction, so I made sure to poke a stick at some of our modern issues and push them to extremes in the future. It’s small stuff, but kind of what science fiction is good at. You’ll see advertising pushed to the extreme, helicopter moms, safe spaces, plastic contamination, and global warming, but not in a preachy way.

I added about 2000 new words to it today, and moved from end-game to denouement. There are a couple of threads to sew up, so this section is longer than I usually do. It all works, so I’m not worried about it.

I’ve decided to write my first epilog, too. I know those are out of vogue, but there are a couple of animals who get abandoned about 3/4 of the way in, and I want to wrap their story. They no longer influence the plot, but a couple of paragraphs aren’t really a deal killer. Might even finish it next weekend.

Yesterday, I shared the Pinterest Board for Serang. A few people seemed to enjoy it, so I’m going to share the one for Grinders. You’ll see some cityscapes, character studies, and even a maze of pipe for a rat. Here’s the Pinterest Board.

One of the cool things about Pinterest is the boards stick around. If you want to write something about China, or your own cyber-punk story, you can snipe from these to start your own board. Just cruising them might give you a brand new idea.

Sean Harrington is sharing Lisa’s catfish poster on his DeviantArt site. Sean and I have a long history, and he might appreciate a bit of traffic. Here is the link if you’d like to visit him.

I’m still watching for reviews. Serang is too new to have anything, but Viral Blues is ripe for some fresh reviews. If you enjoyed this story, it’s a huge help to say something on Amazon. It doesn’t take much, just a line or two and it counts as much as those who write paragraphs of commentary.

When I finish Grinders, I’m going to take Lanternfish back up. I probably won’t start a side project for a while, but once I add about 30K words to that story, It’s likely I will start another one… on the side.

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Huh! Never saw that coming.

I’ve spent a month beating myself up about all this promotion. It’s felt like lather, rinse, repeat for weeks – at least to me. However, there is an upside I never saw coming.

This time out, I’m asking my hosts what they want for their sites. Some of them are throwing me a curve or two, and the posts are coming out differently than previous outings. I’ve always pre-written a bunch of posts that I could send out when I was ready, but having both books so close together, that didn’t happen this time.

I’ve been a whiny baby about it, (and could be again), but I think the posts are better this time.

Writing has always been a journey for me, and this feels like a baby step along that path. It’s not as easy, or convenient, but that small bit of challenge is working for me. I’m not talking about sales here. Those may, or may not, come. I just feel like the tour posts are an improvement over my usual fare. It’s just a tick, and some of you might not notice, but I’m feeling it.

I spent the day custom writing posts for the coming week. They’ll spread out, and won’t fill the week, but it’s a comfort zone. If I find more time this weekend, I might even draft some new material. (My favorite thing.)

Many times, I tend to lower my head and charge into the work that needs to be done. I get a lot accomplished that way. Sometimes it’s worth stopping and assessing that production, both for volume and quality.

That’s a lot of words to say, I think I learned something. Blog hosts know their own followers. They know what will connect with them. I will still keep my living document about promotional topics. There is always someone who says to send them whatever I like. I may be adding to my list for future blog tour material.

Next weekend, I’ll reach out to a few more hosts and find out what challenges they give me. I’ll do it with a positive attitude, and hope I’m able to deliver what they want. Obviously, it has to fit with the story. I can’t turn Serang into a horror story or a sweet romance, but maybe I can pluck a few strings that will be different than my usual fare.

It’s a challenge, but I recommend trying it. You likely know your hosts as well as I know mine. Ask them what they want the next time you go on tour. It may be harder, but the results might be better than you imagined.

Aside from the tour posts, I also have one of my Story Empire posts coming up. It’s going to be another Expansion Pack post about characters you might not have considered. Plenty of me to go around this week, and I still have a few open days if anything exciting happens around here.

Here’s something interesting. I’m trying to make a pin board for all of my stories these days. I use them as reference while I’m drafting the manuscript. I found some amazing things that influenced Serang, and you might want to check it out. Asia has some beautiful scenery, interesting wildlife, and more. (I’d kind of love to visit someday.) Here is the link to the Pinterest Board. You’ll find pictures and artwork that influenced the story. Things like Fu Dogs, the Temple of Wind, martial arts, marketplaces, and more. There are simpler things, too, like watercolors of tiny birds, drying persimmons, and musical instruments. The secondary bonus is my boards aren’t going anywhere. They make a nice reference for stories that have been filtered down to specific settings. Mine and yours.

Hope you’re all having a great weekend.

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Action in the back catalog

I’ve been doing a lot of promotion lately. Considering I released two books in three months, it’s kind of understandable. Things are going well and both books are selling.

To be honest, promo wears me out. I’d rather talk about you guys than myself, but books die on the vine without this kind of thing.

This time out, I’m still going slow. John Howell hosted me today. If you missed the reblog, this is the link. I’m custom writing all the pieces once again. I have one post I need to write this weekend, and another I need to get close on. There are other folks I intend to ask this time out. Don’t want to wear out my welcome at any of the sites.

There is something interesting going on right now. I’m seeing action in my backlist. This is where authors used to make their living decades ago. That model kind of died off, but with ebooks it still has some validity.

Some of this is caused by Viral Blues. That’s the one that included a sequence of my previous characters in a story with Lizzie and The Hat. It’s possible that folks liked VB, and are interested in reading more about some of the characters that appeared in it. I hope so anyway.

Victoria Zigler published a nice post today that included a couple of my older titles. She’s an author herself and a big time supporter of independent authors. Here is the link to her post. I’d appreciate it if you’d run over there and leave her a comment. Check out her site while you’re there and browse her books, too.

I have a lot to think about with some of this. It’s a lot of promo since September, but there are some interesting results. It may be time to move the chain a bit.

When I’m hosted somewhere, I always try to reblog the post. This isn’t to shove it down your throat, I’m trying to drive traffic to those bloggers who were there for me. The hope is they get some good numbers on the day, and maybe my introduction will lead you to another cool blog you might enjoy.

These are positive thoughts, but they could be slightly off-base. Helping others, I’m all about that. However, I am also wearing my regulars out by doing it. Let’s face it, you know I have a new book by reading about it here before I even take it on tour.

I want to balance out gratitude for the favor and keeping my own site from becoming like a broken record. I’m always willing to host something for those who’ve helped me, and that’s also being nice.

Is a post, similar to this one, that includes a few links, easier to digest over here? I could do a weekly post with tour links and a bit of salesmanship, then have a more digestible schedule here for the rest of the week? Is that a balance between polite to my hosts and still respectful of my regulars?

Where is the chain today between polite and efficient? I’d really like to hear from some of you on this.

More promo seems to be working, and it’s something I ought to keep doing. (Who knows if I will, but I can see the results in the new titles and the backlist.) Is it appropriate to keep posting things around the Internet, but not reblog every single post? Will I irritate those who went out of their way for me? I would participate in the comments, and share like crazy on social media either way.

I’d like to see those older titles keep moving. I could run out a post about Yak Guy, or Panama on a monthly basis. Maybe step up Lanternfish when the second book in the series is near publication. Maybe I could prepare a backlist post and have someone host it where several older titles are included.

This is stuff all authors struggle with. Do you have any secrets here? Do you have an opinion about this stuff. I have followers that come here for more than sales-pitch. They like my bulldogs, my sourdough bread, and my backyard fruit trees. Some of you would rather visit the Idea Mill, than read another post about one of my books.

This has rambled on for long enough. I think you understand where I’m coming from. What suggestions do you guys have? What is appropriate these days? Talk to me. Chew me out. Tell me how to make polite changes. Tell me if you think I should not change anything.

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