Category Archives: Uncategorized

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.


Filed under Uncategorized, Writing

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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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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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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C.S. Boyack Novella and Novel #bookreviews

These wonderful reviews showed up at Staci Troilo’s place today. I’ve been excited all day about them, now that I’m home for the night I can share them with you. Staci is a wonderful author herself, and has three new novellas out she calls the Keystone Couples series. You owe it to yourself to check them out while you’re over there. I’ve read two of them and really enjoyed them.

Staci Troilo

Ciao, amici! Next week, I’ll be hosting Craig as he talks about this latest release, Good Liniment. Before I have that honor, I’d like to share my thoughts with you. Click the book cover to go to Amazon, read the blurb, and get your copy.

Good Liniment

My Review:

50% Mystery, 50% Snark, 100% Entertaining

I’ve read the entire Hat series to date, and I didn’t want to miss this one. These stories all stand on their own, but after the way the last one ended, I needed to see where the author picked up the story threads and how he wove them together.

He didn’t disappoint. Nor did he slow down on the tension and the world-building.

We have a new mystery involving witches, and the victims are as dangerous as the villains. Boyack brings back old friends (notably the Pythons and Kevin) and introduces us…

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The tour continues for Good Liniment

Gwen Plano is a friend, a fabulous author, and a Story Empire partner. She’s offered to host my tour today. The topic is what might be next for Lizzie and the hat. While you’re over there, make sure to check out her offerings and consider following her blog.


Hello blog friends. Today I have a treat for you. Author C.S. Boyack is celebrating a new release, and he is visiting to tell us a bit about it.

If you’ve read any of the books in The Hat Series, you know that they are full of intrigue, delightful imaginary characters, and they tell a story you won’t forget. I’m eagerly looking forward to reading the fifth book in the series, Good Liniment

Early reviews sing the praises of Craig’s latest. “A fun and imaginative tale,” reports one reviewer. Another mentions that she is “impressed with Boyack’s creativity, his humorous dialogue, the cringe-worthy actions and quest of the zealot, and the intriguing mystery.” 

Sounds great, doesn’t it? Let’s hear from Craig …

Read the rest at this link.


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Good Liniment – #NewRelease #TheHatSeries @virgilante

The Good Liniment tour continues over at Jan’s place today. The topic is the witchcraft I introduced in the series. Stop over and check it out. While you’re there, surf around Jan’s site. She’s a fabulous author, a Story Empire partner, and one of the most interesting people I know.

Writing and Music

Happy Tuesday, everyone! I am thrilled to feature my good friend and fellow Story Empire contributor, C.S. Boyack‘s newest book release in The Hat Series! If you saw my review last week, you know how much I loved this newest addition to the series. I have read all of Lizzie and The Hat books and highly recommend them!

But for now, I’ll turn it over to C.S. Boyack and let him tell you about this new book!


Thanks for lending me your space today, Jan. I’m here to talk about the newest tale in The Hat Series, called Good Liniment.

This one has been planned for a long time. Ever since book one I intended to return to witchcraft, but felt like Lizzie had to grow a bit as a fledgling monster hunter. She’s chased down a variety of different classic monsters, and has some…

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A different weekend

I never cracked open my WIP one time this weekend. This is because I had company. My brother and mother came for a visit. This is the first time I’ve seen them since Dad passed, and it was wonderful.

Our daughter is home now, too, so she got to see grandma. These kind of days are getting more and more rare. Having so many adults available at one time, from three different cities, I feel like a bit of luck was involved.

Mom wanted to go to the mall, so my brother and I left them to it. We headed for Old Chicago and drank beer. We limited ourselves to appetizers, because we all planned to go to supper later. Catching up with him was one of the weekend highlights.

Supper was weird. We went to The Cheesecake Factory, and it was not like I’m used to. We were told to expect an hour & forty-five minute wait. Looking around the lobby, we assumed it wouldn’t be nearly that long. We were wrong.

Once we finally got inside, a junior high school aged girl led us to our booth in a virtually empty restaurant. Food was wonderful, as was the company. Service was dismal.

We put two & two together. They don’t have enough staff for their normal weekend crowd. Someone brought their daughter in to help, and she did a good job. It made for a long night, but the company was good.

Everyone has gone back home now. This old introvert is soaking in the silence like a battery takes on a charge. Maybe I’ll be ready for the work week tomorrow.

It was a great weekend, and I don’t regret missing out on writing, researching, or any of the rest. I have one finished MS that I can release at any time. I’ll probably hold it back for October. This means I’m ahead of the game, so if opportunities come along I can take them and not beat myself up for it.

Who knows, maybe I’ll even run to Nevada and visit them sometime this summer.

Hope all of you had great weekends.


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