Just checking in

I haven’t updated in a while, because so much of my life is fairly routine. It isn’t like we have date night every weekend these days. There are some things folks might relate to.

Today is a day of chores. This found me crawling around on my hands and knees in the mud, but the sprinkler system is up and running now. Then I had to climb a couple of ladders to change lightbulbs in the garage. After that, I lugged some photos and paintings up to the attic. These were permanent fixtures at my office. Since we’re getting a new location we were told to bring everything home and expect limited room at the new place. I’m afraid a stark barren cubicle is in my future.

Old What’s Her Face and I decided to put out the patio furniture while we were at it. She also learned that some old vinyl records are valuable and had me look through our attic box. Turns out some of the more valuable ones we have twice. An artifact of getting married and each having a copy.

This doesn’t mean that we’re going to do whatever version of eBay exists for old records. They’ll probably stay in the attic since we no longer own a turntable.

As for writing, I started a new project. Yesterday’s word count came to over 1700. This will be a stand alone, and I shared my start with some friends who seem to like it.

I have most of a storyboard for this one, but it’s nice to be able to drift a bit during the process. One odd thing kind of surprised me. I needed a name for my main character. I outlined her as kind of a scrawny blonde of some kind. The kind who’s strong, but not muscular.

When it came down to it, she became a Cuban-American girl. Since this is somewhat post-apocalyptic, I don’t need to bleed a lot of Cuban culture into it. She’s a formerly American girl with an Hispanic look to her.

I’m glad my friends liked the start, because it will probably come out a bit darker and grittier than my usual fare. I’ve already killed two innocents in the first 1700 words.

I am a firm believer in light moments, and have a couple of animal characters I’m counting on to bring a bit of charm. Also, to make it one of my stories, I’m going to include a little magic. Since the setting is the former American South, it will be a bit of Voodoo.

This also marks a return to first person point of view for me. I love it for Will O’ the Wisp, and I’ve used it for several short stories, most notably about Jason Fogg. I think this will come across better as first person since much of the time Mari will be alone.

I have a tile I really like, because it pays homage to an old film favorite. I also have a mental block against it, because Once Upon a Time, seems to indicate something from the past. Granted it will be from Mari White’s past, and not necessarily our past. (Mariposa Rivas-White)

The working title is Once Upon a Time in the Swamp. I’d love to know what you guys think about this. I know titles don’t seem all that important during the drafting phase, but they really help me while writing.

I’m the guy who still needs a title for my space trilogy, and have two more volumes to figure that out. If you happen to be online today or tomorrow, I’d like to know what you think of my working title.

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Content with progress

Today is my flex day, and it’s nice when they tie into the weekends. I’ll start on my long change when I return to the office tomorrow. Since I work ten-hour shifts, four in a row gets kind of brutal. It’s my back mostly. Not a lot of nice recliners at the office.

During my vacation I had three goals, but only accomplished one and a half. This weekend I finished up that other half, then did a complete read-through of Midnight Rambler. I had a few things to fix, but it’s a fun story.

The hat has to face one of his enemies, and Lizzie finds a boyfriend of sorts. It all goes down during a major storm event that becomes almost a character in its own right.

Those who read all the stories will get hints of something that plays into my next project, but I’m still not abandoning the idea that each story stands alone.

My next move will be to send an email for a cover, internal graphics, and a couple of Lisa Burton posters. I just need to figure out what those might involve.

There were errands and such, too. We went from freezing to 86º in three days. I uncovered the air conditioner and got it running. I still haven’t set up the sprinkler system, but it’s been raining.

I also had to take my truck in for service. That cost me Saturday afternoon, since nothing is just around the corner here.

Old What’s Her Face signed up for a service called Peacock. It’s the NBC version of a streaming thing. I discovered one of my all-time favorite series on there and have been binge watching it. Crime Story is set in 1963. There’s a lot of neon, chrome, old cars, and a wonderful playlist involved. There’s also lots of murders and hits, the rise of a Mafioso, and the cop who’s trying to stop him. Who knows, maybe the Muse will bring me some fresh inspiration from all this.

Hope all of you enjoyed your weekends.

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That’s a wrap

Vacation is over. I had three projects to deal with, and only accomplished a project-and-a-half.

We got our daughter relocated to her new apartment, and that took a few days. (One for recovery. Part of one to exchange furniture and get the replacement to her.)

I don’t feel like this was a squandering of my leave time. I spent plenty of time goofing off because I wanted to. It’s taken me years to learn something that’s probably obvious to the rest of you, but I’m allowed to just relax and do fun things occasionally.

I’ll do my best to complete that project for a friend, but I’m halfway finished. I’ll dedicate next weekend to that with some real focus.

After that, I want to read through The Midnight Rambler from start to finish. I haven’t looked at it for a while, so relatively fresh eyes could really help the story.

Beyond that, everything is kind of loose ideas. I’m bound to start another story, and might even start two. I also need to come up with some artwork for Midnight Rambler, at least in my mind.

I might not get it all done next weekend either, but I’ll move the chains somehow.

For now, it’s back to the grind with some focus on what my job requires. I’m going to be way behind, and it might take the first couple of days just to catch up. I will, somehow.

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Vacation gyrations

I’m enjoying one of my routine staycations this week. I was about to max out on accrued leave, so I decided to treat myself.

I had a list, but I haven’t gotten real far on it. The first point was a big one though.

1. Finish my WIP.
2. Work on a project for a friend.
3. Return to Midnight Rambler for a complete read-through.
4. Consider a cover and Lisa Burton posters for Midnight Rambler.

I haven’t really gotten that far, but I’ve been consciously trying to goof off a bit, too. Here it is Thursday, and I finished my manuscript.

Percy the Space Chimp has his first book finished. I want this to become a trilogy, so we’ll see what the Muse brings me here. I still don’t have a title for the damned thing, but once the trilogy is finished it might come to me.

I know it’s Thursday already, but I’m trying not to take on so much my staycation becomes stressful. I’m bound to get at least one more thing accomplished before I have to return to work.

Somewhere soon, I need to decide what to write next. My heart lies with the Hat Series, but I already have one I could publish. Maybe I’ll see if I can dream up some more post apocalyptic elements for my revenge in the swamp story. I might even write that at the same time as the next Hat story.

I always liked writing two at the same time, and I think the world is ready for another stand-alone title from me.

Hope you’re all having good weeks out there.

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Quite the day, indeed

This was supposed to be the day our daughter moved into her solo apartment. She took a leave of absence when she lost her old apartment, and we spent a month setting this up and getting her a new place.

The U-Haul was full to overflowing, overflow meaning my pickup. I had the back seats, passenger seat, and truck bed completely full. Old What’s Her Face even bought her a brand new couch from the damaged and flawed room, and all it needed was legs. Easy to obtain from Amazon.

When we got to the basement apartment, I drove right to it, my wife and daughter missed the freeway exit and had to find a place to turn around. Eventually, we all arrived and spent hours lugging things downstairs. This includes a bunch of cookware and other heavy items, like the hand-me-down king sized bed.

Time for the couch. The door opened onto a landing, requiring an immediate left and stairs. We tried vertically to make the turn, but the couch was too long. We managed to booger up the fabric, the door frame, and the sheet rock, but the couch was never going to fit.

We got close, if it were only three feet shorter we would have nailed it. This left us with a unique problem.

This couch is straight from the store. They said they would take it back, but we were in Twin Falls and the store is in Boise. We had to turn the U-Haul in.

This meant shoehorning the frigging thing into my pickup with the tailgate down. We didn’t have any tie-downs, but knew someone who did.

Old What’s Her Face looked up from her phone. “100% chance of rain for the afternoon.”

Now, Idaho hasn’t had any realistic precipitation for six months. What are the odds?

Turns out the U-Haul store sells tarps and bungee chords. Just add those to the bill.

We decided it would only sprinkle at best and if it looked serious we could pull over and tarp it then.

See, the flaw in the plan was two old fat people would be the only ones available if the need arose. We pulled over just outside Twin in a hurricane.

Two people who love each other very much didn’t look quite like it as the fluorescent orange tarp flapped around our heads, and rain ran down our necks. Thankfully, the wind carried most of our language away as we tried to double up bungee chords to hold the damned thing in place.

As soon as we pulled back on the Interstate it stopped raining. Freeway speed all the way to Boise.

A huge thunderstorm formed ahead of us, and we estimated our chances of avoiding it as zero.

Sure enough, as we hit the edge of Boise it came down in a way that made the early part look like child’s play. It came down in buckets as we drove through town and wove our way home. We got drenched as we unloaded the stipulated thing in our garage. The couch was soaked, but only on one end.

That sounds promising, but it really isn’t. Some kind of moldy couch doesn’t present itself as brand-frigging-new anymore. Also, as soon as we got into the garage for the night, the rain stopped.

And that was our day. Three vehicles went to Twin Falls and one came home. Our daughter is there assembling furniture and cleaning up what turned out to be a filthy mess.

I feel like I’m going to die right now. Stairs were never my friends, but in my 60s it’s so much worse.

On the other hand, I came up with some cool scenarios and a couple of characters that would fit right into the Hat universe. Of course, I’m not writing that right now, so will need to make some notes or index cards tomorrow.

Oh, and I saw a bald eagle. If this is the kind of luck they’re starting to bring me, they can stay the hell away.

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What should I post, when I didn’t do anything?

Three day weekend at my disposal, and I didn’t accomplish anything worth sharing.

Don’t get me wrong, I added around 2000 words to my WIP, but that was over all three days. Spent some time visiting with my daughter, and cuddling Jackson the cat. (He won’t be denied, and kind of takes up the space where the keyboard usually lives.)

I took some time to put pickets back up on our fence. Thinks have been windy in Idaho this Spring. I’m not a tool guy, and confess to putting one of them on backwards. You can see the color difference where it used to anchor into the 2 x 4 last year. This year that side faces the house. Do I care? Not in the slightest.

Old What Her Face had the television on, and I tried to get into a couple of things. It didn’t really work. I also read a book, and that feels productive in its own way.

That’s it, really. I’m trying to pull the threads together in my WIP for the final event, but have a few kinks to work out. I need more daydreaming time here, and don’t feel the need to rush it at all.

Hope all of you accomplished more than I did. Back to the office tomorrow.

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My flex day

I started off kind of slow today. Got a chance to sleep in and I took it. This means I was probably less productive than I could have been, but I’m ahead of the game right now.

Let’s face it, I could publish another Hat story tomorrow. It’s a cool position to be in, and I’d like to sustain it for a while. Less pressure is nice for a change.

I still managed to break the 80K word mark on my WIP. That makes it a novel in my mind. I’m going to ignore the old rules about making science fiction a bit longer. These are going to be geared more to a modern audience, and since it’s a trilogy, there will be more of the galaxy to cover.

Percy the Space Chimp has one more big event in this book, then it’s finished. I left them hanging out at their favorite backwater planet and can pick the story back up this weekend.

Jackson the cat decided to help me today. He seems to want to sleep either in my lap or on my keyboard. I think he’s uber-cute, but I could use a break once in a while.

Jackson will be going away soon. Our daughter finally found an apartment she can afford. It’s in a different city than her job, so she’s got a long commute ahead of her from now on. I weep for the plight of our young people. America doesn’t pay enough for them to make ends meet today, and rentals are so expensive now. Still, she gets to keep the job that she loves, and that makes me happy. I’ll miss having her around.

The blog tour for Good Liniment has finally ended. (I hear a small cheer across the universe.) It’s not enough to write a good story today. You have to do something to spread the word, and the word has been spread. We had some fun topics and every post was unique. Sold a few books, too, so that’s a bonus.

I’ve seen some reviews for both Good Liniment and Wreck of the Lanternfish lately. Remember, those are both still linked in my sidebar. Any author appreciates reviews, so if you read one of them I would be grateful for a few minutes of your time to share your thoughts.

Lanternfish needs to be read in order since it’s a trilogy. Good Liniment is a stand alone title in The Hat Series, and all of them can be read out of order.

In other news, I spent a couple hours reading a book I’m really enjoying, but it requires a lot of focus. It’s a good tale, so I’m sticking with it. It’s just hard to read in some sections.

I also managed to take a short nap this afternoon. This is something I’ve grown more insistent on whenever I’m off. They rarely surpass 30 minutes, but make me feel so good. Judge me if you want, but I kind of like them.

Back to work tomorrow.

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The Wreck of the Lanternfish ~ #Review ~#Fiction ~ #HistoricalFantasy ~ @Virgilante

Anita and Jaye are showing a little Lanternfish love today. Stop over and check it out. While you’re there spend some time in their sidebar browsing their own stories.

Words on Paper

James Cuttler created a peaceful spot for he and his wife to settle down. Far from the war that ravages their homeland, far from the reputation he earned as the notorious Captain Bloodwater, and far from responsibility.

A royal Prelonian houseguest is a constant reminder of what’s at stake half a world away, of the friends he put ashore to fight the war. He lives in a dream world that’s temporary, at best. It’s only a matter of time before his guest is identified and the black assassins come for her.

He mortgages his precious vineyard to pay for repairs to his ship. If nothing else, Lanternfish will be one of the most powerful ships in the war. He’ll need to avoid those on his own side who would hang him for piracy.

Serang is half a world away, leading her army of mercenary swordsmen toward the Fulminites. Mistrusted by…

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Shining a Light on C.S. Boyack’s Newest in the Hat Series: Good Liniment

This post will wrap up the tour for Good Liniment. All the posts have been fun, and we had some good conversations along the route. I sent Lisa Burton to visit with Staci Troilo. Her topic is one of the magical beings in the story, named Destiny. Staci is a wonderful author, a good friend, and Story Empire partner. Check out her wares while you’re over there and consider following her blog, too.

Staci Troilo

Ciao, amici! It’s my pleasure to welcome back to the blog C.S. Boyack—speculative fiction writer, Story Empire colleague, and long-time friend. Craig never fails to entertain his fans with his extraordinary imagination (most of you know I’m the self-proclaimed president of the root monsters’ fan club), and his spokesmodel, Lisa Burton, always catches the eye. Today, the focus is on his latest in the Hat series, Good Liniment. If you haven’t read any of this series, you should. The novellas are easy to consume in a short amount of time and are full of humor and hijinks, with a splash of paranormal thrown in for fun. Please help me make them feel at home as we celebrate his new release.


It’s so nice to be here again, Staci. It gets kind of boring just hanging out at the writing cabin for long stretches. While I’m fully connected to the…

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Some days you’re the hydrant

Old What’s Her Face and I had a nice date last evening. Dinner at one of our favorite places that didn’t succumb to the whole Covid situation. This caused me to drag my feet getting to the writing cabin this morning.

I made a quick pass over my last 2000 words, then added a couple of dozen new ones before groaning. “Agghhh!”

“What’s wrong?” Percy the Space Chimp asked.

“Formatting.”

“Who cares about that? Let’s move this story forward.”

“Sadly, I do.”

“Look, it might just be another project to you, but it’s my life here, and I’d like to get on with it.”

“I have a problem doing that when I’m hung up on something. I started off putting small headers on certain chapters to tell readers where this part of the story takes place. Something small like what planet, what government, occasionally a city. Then it all went to crap.”

“Okay, so delete them all and let’s rock.”

“Not that simple. Early on, I think it helps readers to understand more about this environment. After a while, they get it, and you’ve traveled to some places multiple times. Then, some of this didn’t conveniently happen at the beginning of a chapter.”

“Okay, so leave the early ones, then give up on the idea.”

“That isn’t consistent. Readers will notice something like that.”

“What are you going to do?” Lisa, my robot girl PA asked.

“I’m going back through and adding them for consistency.”

“How long’s that going to take?” Percy asked.

“As long as it takes. Why? Do you have a hot date, or something?”

“I do if you write me one.”

“Look, I have a Muse. I have a PA who for some reason decided to wear a fur vest today—.”

“It’s a fake fur.”

“Who for some reason decided to wear a fake fur vest. Even the Research Sirens come around to bother me, but wind up helping. Unless one of you knows some Formatting Fairies, or something, this is all on me.”

Lisa straighten her vest. “It’s because Auburn has a vest like this in the story. We met the Green Fairy years ago, maybe she knows someone.”

“That was a long time ago, and we don’t want to talk about her. I think I should keep the headers.” I went to work using copy and paste, then over typing whatever I copied from.

“Dude, this is an endless loop.” Percy took a swig from his coffee. “Today you add them, later you delete them all, only to add them back down the road.”

“You’re not wrong. This is the kind of thing I have to deal with. They’re very helpful at the beginning. After about fifty-thousand words my readers are experts and don’t need them anymore.”

“You’re right. I don’t get it.”

“After I add them all we can move the story ahead.”

“Then delete them all later.”

“Probably. At least they exist if I want to leave them.”

Percy stood, then dusted his hands. “Looks like you don’t need me today. I think I’ll step into the forest and gather some wood. It’s stormy and clammy here, and a nice fire sounds like the ticket to me.”

Lisa assumed his former position on the couch. “I’ll do some Googling. Maybe there’s a Header Hobgoblin or someone who can direct you.”

“Thanks. At least you’re being more helpful than he is today.”

***

That’s how I spent my writing time today. If anyone has any suggestions I’d love to hear them.

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