Category Archives: Writing

It’s a Draft

I put in the effort today. I needed to pick a project and focus on it, so I limited myself to just one thing. I added about 4500 words to The Enhanced League and finished it.

It's a draft with flaws, and it needs some help here and there, but it exists now. I can address the issues in the editing phase.

So what is it? It's a story about an alternate baseball league where anything goes. This includes performance enhancing drugs, aluminum bats, lasers that call balls and strikes, and more. I borrowed pages from my Experimental Notebooks, and my novel The Playground to try telling an overall story by writing a bunch of short stories, micro-fiction, and something new. There is a pinch of science fiction involved when it comes to my semi-main character too.

That something new is what I am calling anthems. They're almost like a monologue, but written in second person point of view. I think I shared one on this blog a month or so ago.

4500 words is a long day for me. Since these were individual stories, I didn't know what I had until I assembled them all. The book came together at slightly over 37,000 words. That isn't a lot, and I feel like it could use another three to five thousand.

Still, my intention all along was to make it a 99¢ special. I also have a theory that novellas are where it's at right now, so maybe it does work.

My personal goal was to make all the short pieces tell a larger story, and I did. It keeps me from my normal twist endings, but I'm okay with that. This isn't an Experimental Notebook. I still managed two pretty good ones using my semi-lead character Roger Warren.

I'm trying to celebrate, I swear, but I always wind up critiquing my own work. I poured a big glass of Laphroaig, not my usual drink, and am trying to type between bouts of throwing a squeaky bone for Otto.

I would like to work on The Yak Guy Project tomorrow, but can't. I have a Lisa Burton Radio to assemble and schedule. I also have a new one to work up a shtick on and ship to the guest author. Then there are those Storyreading Ape posts I need to write. To tell you the truth, I'm dragging my feet there, because I may have a new release to post about. Maybe I'll write May's post and deliver it. Then, if I have a new release, I can write about it for June.

Lots to think about, more toys to throw, and a nice smoky scotch to down. I'd like to see a Spring Training game for actual baseball, but there doesn't appear to be anything on right now.

My wife called and already spent all her money on the first day. Let's be honest, I knew this would happen. It sounds like they are having a great time, and I'm going to have to accept the fact that another day of spending is going to happen.

So it appears I did get some writing done. The girls are having a great time, and did spend too much money. Otto is having fun too, and whisky (without the e) is good for what ails you.

Tomorrow is all about blog work, after I call my parents. Then I need to deal with some mundane things like dirty dishes and such. It won't be that hard to resist the editing phase, since it isn't my favorite. I'll probably still dwell on things like cover art, Lisa posters, beta readers, and the whole releasing a book strategy. I promise not to initiate any of it though.

I wish I could share it with my critique group, but I may be on the verge of losing the group. We've been together for years, but three of the members stepped out. We got one new member, but now we're having trouble scheduling the meetings. We skipped February all together. My beta readers for Enhanced League are going to be more important than ever.

The Enhanced League needs time to ferment. A couple of weeks of being ignored will give me a new perspective on the whole thing. It may also give me time to finish The Yak Guy Project.

Yak Guy is next, with no new projects until it is a draft too.

Talk to me tonight. Did you do any writing today? What do you think about novella length works? Would you rather be at the Mall of America with my wife and daughter?

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What’s in a name?

Naming fictional characters is fun, and a pain at the same time. Writing short fiction can really burn through names, but there are times I don't use them at all. In The Enhanced League, I'm having to come up with a lot of names.

I've used the Major League Baseball rosters for names in the past, but had to look elsewhere for names in these tales, because they are baseball stories. I never use someone's whole name, but sometimes a ball player's last name works for me.

The fact is that I'm parked on a great source for names, and can't use them. These are family members, and even if they've passed on, their children haven't. Some of these names have a lot of character, and that helps in fiction. (Some of the actual people were quite the characters themselves.)

Check some of these out. I'll drop the last name where appropriate, because it doesn't matter anyway.

Price David XXX was my grandfather. He went by Turk his entire life. (No Turkish blood in the family) Without ever knowing the man, there is some character already there.

My other grandfather was Hiram Sterling XXX. He went by Sterling.

I have a cousin named Tyna. It isn't pronounced Teena either. It catches the eye, and is interesting.

Gwladys was my grandmother. She Americanized it to Gladys after she immigrated here from Wales. Interesting side note, she came here on the Carpathia the year before it rescued survivors of the Titanic Disaster. Americanizing your name is interesting without writing a single word being written.

Ralph Edward XXX was a great uncle. He was the first born in a large family. Someone early on called him the little chap. He was Uncle Chappie his entire life. It's interesting.

Leonard Byron XXX went by Snuffy.

How about some of these; Charles Wellington XXX, Fred Niemeyer XXX, Thomas Harrington XXX, Walter Eddison XXX. They just have a nice ring to them. Walter Eddison was a polio survivor and one of the greatest characters I've ever known. He did like so many others, and named his firstborn after himself, but Junior was never used. He's always been Little Ed, and still is at about sixty odd years old.

Speaking of Uncle Ed, many folks in my family go by their middle names. Aside from my grandfather, Stella Phyllis XXX, Price Douglas XXX. I think going by the middle name also is intriguing. It might not be first page stuff, but it makes fictional characters interesting.

A similar relative was Clarence Lee XXX, he went by Sonny.

My other grandmother was Thelma Irene XXX. That just sounds so 1920s to me. It's an old name that gets no love these days. She was quite the character herself.

How about a great aunt named Coila Leona XXX. She went by Coila, and I've never heard the name before or since.

I'll throw in a family friend too. Her name was Agatha, only she didn't pronounce it like you might think. She insisted on Ah-gay-tha.

There you have it. A great list of names that are off limits to me. In a fictional setting, not every character can be a hero, and even heroes need flaws. Someone, somewhere, would complain that I painted their mother, brother, dad, etc. in a bad light. They might believe I thought poorly of those people, and I loved them to be honest. So these names are on my no-fly-list.

You can use them, I just can't. If you want a vampire named Thelma, or an axe murderer named Chappie, have at it.

I think it's interesting when people go by their middle name. I also think it's interesting when people go by nicknames. Without writing a single word, there is a tidbit of something in the character. It's interesting when people Americanize their name too.

On a personal note, this was an interesting exercise for me. Apparently I come from a long line of characters, and some of them were pretty over the top. Think about it, my grandparents were Turk, Thelma, Gladys, and Sterling.

So how about it you guys? Do you consider family names off limits? Do you think names are intriguing? Does the nuance of a name help when you write a character? What's your favorite source of fictional names? Do you like name generators? Talk to me.

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A Castaway Style Interview

It's an interesting exercise to choose items for a castaway island. It winds up being a pretty good look into your preferences and makeup. Today it's my turn, and I invite you all to check it out. Thanks to Sian Glirdan (Jan Hawk) for including me.

A Green Room welcome to ~ C.S. Boyack

Siân: Today I’ve set up a challenging environment for the fantastical C.S. Boyack, aka Craig, author of the hoopiest, twistiest speculative micro and macro-fiction on the planet, in a far-flung orbit of creativity! You saw what I did there, huh?
Craig’s a pioneering type and waxed long and eccentric when I asked about his preferred, year-long, castaway requirements. So, as I’m currently working on something in the furthest flung of galaxies, I’ve cherry-picked a rather spiffy desert planetoid that isn’t infested with giant semi-sentient worms, for him to go play in the biiiig sandpit…

Read on here I'll check over there for comments throughout the day.

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A day off

I managed about 1500 words today on The Enhanced League. I could have finished the first draft, but I had some other commitments. I wrote one complete micro, and it needs a bit of something. I also started the last short story. I will add one more micro after the short, and may include another anthem piece. The anthem would allow me to talk about the Hot Stove season without spending a bunch of time on it.

I had to finalize next week's Lisa Burton Radio, and get it scheduled. I also have a fun guest appearance of my own where I get to be a castaway. These things take time too, and they're important. I want to do a good job for my guests and my hosts, and didn't want to take shortcuts with any of it.

I tried to participate in the Rave Reviews Book Club's “Pay it Forward” day. I believe in paying it forward, and sent out quite a few tweets using #RRBC, and made my own hashtag #RRBCPIF – you know, just in case it helps. I don't know if anyone else picked it up, but it's out there now.

Beyond that, there was a bunch of Otto time. I may need Tommy John surgery after all the throwing I've been doing. He's a ball playing boy.

He actually watched the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on television. I've had dogs who notice the TV before, but he watched the show. He seems to get more excited over the white dogs. I decided this could be because he can see them better, but he could be one of those guys who prefers blondes too.

I posted a couple photos on the Entertaining Stories Facebook page. People love Otto photos, and my FB page could use more traffic so I tend to post them there. Here's a link, just in case you need it.

There you have it. Dabbling mostly, working toward the end of the Enhanced League season, while looking forward to the MLB actual season. Blog work, plus some puppy time, and that was my day. Back to the grind tomorrow.

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Chasing Bedlam is available right now.

Return to the Shattered States
for a tale of love between a woman & her jeep!

Cover Art by Jon Hunsinger

Cover Art by Jon Hunsinger

Lloyd and Cassidy’s last adventure was to honor a life. This time they are out to end one.

It was a normal, violent mission to Texas that should have had nothing more than beer-induced hiccups. That is until an old enemy makes off with Cassidy’s jeep and most of their gear. Needless to say, she’s pissed off and challenging Lloyd for the psychopath of the month award. With the mouthy serial killer by her side, she is going on the warpath from Dallas to Miami even if it means declaring war on the drug cartels.

So strap in for another wild ride through the Shattered States and learn why you never mess with Cassidy’s jeep.

Available on Amazon for 99 cents!

Want a taste?

“So your boss thought she could send assassins to kill the Riflemen,” the black-haired leader says, earning a cheer from his men. A firm smack to the prisoner’s head silences her gurgling attempt to deny the charge. “Nothing you say can prevent the inevitable. Don’t go thinking that pet serial killer will save you either. The idiot brought a paintball gun to Texas and thought he’d win a gunfight? I’m surprised he lasted as long as he did. All we need to do is find the body and we can collect the bounty on him too. Guess you’re lucky that he’s wanted dead and you’re wanted alive by that warden up north.”

“I’d be careful, boss,” a sword-wielding gang member warns. She leans away from the angry glare, but rolls up her sleeve to reveal a sloppily stitched wound. “While this one isn’t as tough as her reputation says, she can still hit hard. Lost two men before we restrained her and three more are nursing broken balls. Maybe we should use some of our tranquilizer stash and keep her sedated.”

“No reason for th-” Top Hog begins as he runs his hand across the prisoner’s forehead. He rubs his fingers at the sensation of something sticky between his fingers and looks closer to figure out what he has touched. “This scar is fake. Made from glue or something. Are you sure this is Cassidy?”

“She was with Lloyd Tenay at the bar,” a one-eyed man replies in a shaky voice. He shifts from one foot to the other when everyone else takes a step away from him. “You told us to look for him and a blonde woman. She had the denim jacket, the forehead scar, cursed a lot, carried two pistols, and even has the correct tramp stamp. Everyone was calling her Cassidy after she drove up in the blue jeep too. We made sure that everything checked out, boss. Even bribed the bartender and two waitresses.”

Sweat beading on his face, Top Hog draws his large gun and presses it to the prisoner’s temple. He leans around her, his eyes repeatedly darting toward her hands to make sure they are still bound. Lifting her white shirt, he sees the unique tattoo that the widespread stories mention Cassidy getting a little less than a year ago. The design is two pistols back to back with vines of bone curling around and binding them together. A strange discoloration catches the gang leader’s attention and he rubs his thumb along the woman’s side, pushing his weapon harder against her head to prevent wiggling. He swears that he feels a seam, so he gets a dirty fingernail beneath what turns out to be a flesh-colored sticker. Top Hog yanks it off and shows it to his men, the prisoner biting her lower lip to avoid screaming. He can already see that the tattoo is smeared from where he has touched it with his meaty fingers.

Enraged and embarrassed, the gang leader is about to kill the fake Cassidy when he hears distant rock music. Within seconds, he realizes that the source is getting closer and is soon joined by maniacal laughter coming over a crackling megaphone. With a snap of his fingers, Top Hog orders one of his men to take the prisoner to his office while the others run for the exit. Nobody gets very far before a blue jeep, which has been outfitted with a wide battering ram, smashes through the front of the warehouse. The vehicle leaves a gaping hole in the wall, which is made worse by hooked chains on the rear bumper that catch and tear more of the obstacle down. The jeep continues at full speed through crates, shelving units, and the slower gang members whose deaths are celebrated by honks of the horn. Tires screech as the driver hits the brakes and gets the car to spin, the move appearing to have no purpose beyond making those inside dizzy. With an embarrassing thud, the vehicle hits the back wall and hisses to a stop.

The gang have already drawn their weapons and are cautiously approaching the jeep when the sunroof opens. Bullets fly at the blonde figure that leaps out, the projectiles creating so many holes that the top half of their target falls off. The legs of the cardboard cutout are casually tossed to the floor before the shriek of a megaphone makes everyone cringe and cover their ears. With the tattered remains laying face up, the frustrated criminals realize that they have destroyed another Cassidy decoy. They are about to inch closer when the jeep briefly roars to life and a man inside begins making engine noises. The sounds change to the exaggerated screams and detailed begging of those whose parts are still stuck to the scuffed battering ram.

“So that was your plan, Cassidy?” Top Hog asks with a chuckle. He turns to see their prisoner is trying to roll away and fires his gun into the air to stop her. “Two decoys, so that you could get the drop on us. Guess you thought more of us would get run over. You still have thirteen of my crew standing and you’re cornered in that jeep. Now, the only question is if I send a piece of you back to the Duchess as a message that she should stay out of my business. Damn northerner needs to stay out of Texas’s business.”

“Actually, that young woman was the bait and I was the distraction,” Lloyd announces from inside. With a gleeful laugh, he opens one of the doors and yanks it back when the gang shoots at him. “Well shit. That was my favorite power window button. Anyway, people make that mistake all the time. You see, bait draws you in and, at least here, allows the real predators to follow you back to the previously hidden hideout. Not even a sign to help us out, which is very rude and unaccommodating. Now, the distraction’s job is to keep you looking in one direction while a mischievous maiden of mayhem prepares her new toy somewhere else. Don’t bother running, boys, because she’ll take that as an insult.”

Top Hog and his men turn toward the hole in the wall, which has exposed them to the large parking lot. The sun forces them to squint at the lone figure standing behind a loaded mini-gun, the weapon glinting in the midday light. Clouds move across the sky, which makes it easier for the gang to identify the denim jacket and blonde hair of their enemy. They take a few shots at the distant woman, but their bullets either miss completely or bounce off several riot shields that are strapped to the weapon. A slamming car door causes them to jump, but they turn in the wrong direction and are unable to stop Lloyd from racing toward the prisoner. Wearing orange pants from his time as a prisoner and a red shirt with a lightning bolt, the black-haired serial killer seems like an obvious target as he scoops up the young woman and dives behind a box of grenades. Suddenly afraid for their lives, Top Hog and his men attempt to scatter and hunt for cover.

“I hate moving targets,” Cassidy growls.

And don’t forget how it all started in
CROSSING BEDLAM!
Also on sale for 99 cents!

charles

About the Author:

Charles Yallowitz was born and raised on Long Island, NY, but he has spent most of his life wandering his own imagination in a blissful haze. Occasionally, he would return from this world for the necessities such as food, showers, and Saturday morning cartoons. One day he returned from his imagination and decided he would share his stories with the world. After his wife decided that she was tired of hearing the same stories repeatedly, she convinced him that it would make more sense to follow his dream of being a fantasy author. So, locked within the house under orders to shut up and get to work, Charles brings you Legends of Windemere. He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you, and his wife is happy he finally has someone else to play with.

Blog: www.legendsofwindemere.com
Twitter: @cyallowitz
Facebook: Charles Yallowitz
Website: www.charleseyallowitz.com

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Progress, such as it is.

We just walked in from date night, and took Otto for a walk. It's nice to have the gigantic snow drifts gone again. There are still some ten foot tall piles around everywhere, but most areas are clear now.

I managed about 1500 words today on my novel. That isn't great, but it's better than nothing. This part involved killing some bad guys, and accomplishing one of his goals. The next goal is a journey through the wilderness with people who are ill suited for it. (Children.) This time, he's the one leading and not in the care of others. Did I mention this is a personal growth story?

The story structure is based on the Major Arcana of the Tarot. I'm torn as to whether to include the Death card in the next section, or not. It might come across as forced, and many might not realize that it doesn't signify actual death. Decisions to be made on the fly.

After this journey, one big turning point, then denouement.

I stopped to take care of some neglected chores. Where we shoveled the driveway, there were four + foot piles of snow for the last two months. It was 50+ degrees this week, and that's all changed now. The drifts are small enough to allow me to recover my extension cords. These were out for Christmas lights, but got frozen in place then buried. I also picked up my ladder and broom, these were in place for multiple cleanings of the satelite dish. My dream is that's all behind us now for the rest of 2017.

Right before date night, I hacked my way through a proof of next week's Lisa Burton Radio interview. If my guest author approves, I'll assemble and schedule it on Sunday. I have another one to work on too. Then I need more guests.

Tomorrow I have another shot at some writing, so maybe I can work right up to the end. I could actually finish, but that would be an extraordinary day. If this one stumps me, I'll shift over to the book of short stories.

Hope the rest of you are having a great weekend.

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Wassup Blogland?

I took off a few hours early yesterday. I have gobs of vacation, and since I have the house to myself, I wanted to get some things done. Old What's Her Face* made her annual trek south to watch the Super Bowl with her brother. There really isn't much more attraction there than that, and I decided to watch Otto. (That's code for getting stuff accomplished.)

With the extra time, I stacked the deck for today. Last night, I finished my beta read and made some detailed notes for the author before sending them out the cyber-door. Then I assembled and scheduled next week's Lisa Burton Radio show. I felt so good about it I made myself a drink before bed.

This left me with some time to move my projects ahead. Otto let me sleep in a little bit, but we were still up before 7:00. I fed him, and myself, filled the humidifiers, and made the coffee. Like all days, I started with email and social media.

I moved on to The Yak guy and added several thousand words to his story. He's starting to have bigger thoughts, and placed himself in real danger for the sake of others. He only has to do it one more time, then take a group of helpless folks across a wasteland, have an epiphany, earn his reward, and it's done. It sounds like a lot when I see it written out, but travel time will have to be pared down and explained more than lived through.

I could be done in about three more writing days.

I surfed through all the sites again, picked up the mail,and found Karen O.'s awesome review of my second Experimental Notebook. Many of you are writers, and Karen is a prolific reviewer. Maybe you ought to introduce yourselves over there. She's associated with other reviewers too, and it's good to know a few. Hit the link above, and you might convince yourself to pick up my 99¢ masterpiece while you're there.

Then I picked up The Enhanced League. I wrote another micro piece about behind-the-scenes corporate evils. This project is about three tales away from being finished too.

After finishing the micro piece, I made a chart for the playoffs. I can't detail the whole event and keep reader interest. When I refer to it though, I want a cheat sheet so I can be accurate. Right now, I want to return to the television guys so they can detail the playoff structure for everyone. Then I'm going all the way to game seven of the World Series, which I'm calling the The World Championship. (This isn't Major League Baseball, and I don't want to step on their toes.) After that, I have one post-season tale that ties up some loose threads for my pseudo main character. Then it's done.

I might add another anthem piece, but it depends on how I feel after it's all assembled.

Many of you are writers, most of you are readers, here's a question for you. The Enhanced League is coming together with more micro-fiction than short stories. Would this be an issue to you as a reader? They all serve to tell a bigger tale as a sum than they do standing alone. This makes the book different than my Experimental Notebooks. Would you feel ripped off spending 99¢ on a book of mostly micro-fiction?

It's been pretty quiet in Cyberspace this week. I hope it all means you're tearing it up on your own projects, or doing something fun while I'm working. I'm not counting much on tomorrow, but may spend an hour with The Enhanced League. Yak Guy requires deeper thought, and after calling my parents I don't know how much time I want to dedicate before turning on all the pre-game stuff.

I want to end with Go Steelers, but that ship has sailed.

*Entertaining Stories, protecting my wife's identy since 2013.

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