Category Archives: Writing

Things Old and Forgotten

I’m so excited to have Mae Clair at Entertaining Stories once more. She’s here to tell us about a new collection of short stories she’s published. Make her feel welcome, and use those sharing buttons to spread her good news.

Hi, Craig. Thanks for hosting me today and allowing me to share my newest release with your readers. Things Old and Forgotten is a collection of short fiction that includes stories in several genres—magical realism, fantasy, speculative, even two that touch on mild horror.

When I was in tenth grade, my English teacher gave me his Lord of the Rings book collection to read, and an entire new realm unfolded before my eyes. Prior to that I’d been reading mostly science-fiction, but the discovery of epic fantasy was unlike anything I’d encountered before.

I was hooked, and spent the next decade devouring books of wizardry, magical artifacts, and enchanted realms. To this day, I still love a good epic fantasy or sword-and-sorcery novel. When it came time to put together my collection of stories for Things Old and Forgotten, I couldn’t resist including a few fantasy tales. Below is the opening from The Chaos Stone, one of the fantasy tales included in my collection.

EXCERPT:

Cold, velvety blackness. It was the element O’Lorian knew best. He stirred stiffly, limbs awakening in protest. A dull fire burned in his side as he struggled to sit. The rock at his back was rough and pitted. Overhead, jagged stone disappeared into shadow, defining the vacuous scope of a cavern. Garrick had done well in securing cover.

“Aseyrofen.” The bird materialized at the mouth of the cave, its ghostly wings luminous in the darkness. O’Lorian offered his arm. “Where is the human?” The bird alighted on his wrist with a scathing cackle. “Fled? How senseless.”

Especially after the human had gone to the trouble of cleaning and bandaging his wound.

O’Lorian slipped from the cavern, spurred by hunger.

“You need not fear for Trent, my lady. I would not destroy the means of my salvation, particularly when I may yet require his assistance. Our destination is still a few days distant, and these woods are unfamiliar. I would not have found the cave in time.” He paused, inhaling deeply. “Do you sense it, Aseyrofen? The slumbering phantom that awakens with the sun’s demise?”

The bird nipped his sleeve in gentle reprimand.

“Yes, I know, but it’s been some time since I fed. The werebeast’s blood was defiled.” He withdrew his sword. “I promise to be civilized, my lady. As genteel as possible. Perhaps you would care to join me?”

With a screech of displeasure, Aseyrofen vanished into the trees. Laughing softly, O’Lorian did the same.


BOOK BLURB:

A man keeping King Arthur’s dream of Camelot alive.
A Robin Hood battling in a drastically different Sherwood.
A young man facing eternity in the desert.
A genteel southern lady besting a powerful order of genies.
A woman meeting her father decades after his death.

These are but a few of the intriguing tales waiting to be discovered in Things Old and Forgotten. Prepare to be transported to realms of folklore and legend, where magic and wonder linger around every corner, and fantastic possibilities are limited only by imagination.

 

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Thanks again for hosting me today, Craig. In honor of my love for autumn—a fantastic time to curl up with a book—Things Old and Forgotten will be on sale for .99c through October 31st.

PURCHASE LINK

Connect with Mae Clair at BOOKBUB and the following haunts:

Amazon| BookBub| Newsletter Sign-Up
Website | Blog| Twitter| Goodreads| All Social Media

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Lisa Burton visits the Murder Blog

I sent Lisa Burton over to visit Sue Coletta today. Sue is one of my favorite authors, and I’ve read most of her books. She also has one of the most interesting blogs out there. Make sure you check out her blog and wares while you’re over there. I recommend all of them highly.

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Join in me in welcoming Lisa Burton. Did I mention Lisa isn’t human? She’s a robot girl and spokesmodel for my buddy Craig’s writing career. Shawnee Daniels and Lisa go way back to when Lisa hosted her own radio show. If memory serves, I believe I had to drag Shawnee out of there before these two went head-to-head. So, if you’re reading the Mayhem Series, please don’t tell Shawnee she’s here. 😉

Welcome to Murder Blog, Lisa! Keep reading here.

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A small update

I’m going to be pushing The Hat Series all this month. Regular readers will have noticed the reblogs for the first book. To kick things off, I made The Hat free for a few days, announced that at Teri Polen’s Bad Moon Rising event, and hired a push by Fussy Librarian.

Stacking events might be the way to go. I try to share results, both good and bad, but this time they look pretty good.

The Hat made it up to number four on the free lists, and I’m surprised it didn’t climb higher. This is because during the free days I managed to give away 1144 copies of the book. It could be a tougher genre than last time, but those last four notches must require another 400 copies each.

I took a photo, but I’m not sharing it. I want to share this one instead. This was early Tuesday morning when it first hit the free promo. It is a paranormal title, and I thought this was funny. Check out that ranking under Paranormal & Urban Fantasy. Ha ha!

During all this, my pages read really spiked. This seems to be across the whole series, so it must have something to do with the push. Those who understand the indie author’s life seem to get that Kindle Unlimited is still free for them, but I get paid a little something out of the deal.

There will be promo for the other series titles, and I’m also stacking one of those in a couple of weeks.

I mention these things, because some of you might want to try something similar. This time it seems to have worked. It’s October, paranormal titles, blog tour, give always, plus a small paid promo. This could work with the right titles at Christmas, Valentines, and more.

As the rest of it shakes out, I hope you’ll forgive the reblogs. I want to support my hosts as much as possible, and if I can drive them a little traffic, or introduce someone to their sites, they deserve it.

I also had the post over at Story Empire today. I started a series about Three Act Structure that some of you might enjoy. You can check that out here.

This afternoon, Old What’s Her Face and I drove to Twin Falls and met my in-laws. They bought two pigs, and we bought half of one from them. The small freezer is packed tonight, and I’m kind of tired.

Tomorrow, I’ll catch up on your blogs, check for comments on the sites that hosted me, and might even manage to write a chapter. I need to start hacking out my next Story Empire post as we move into Act 2. Then I need to look to my Lanternfish manuscript. It’s back from the formatter and I need to check it this weekend.

I have a hunch there is some ham for breakfast somewhere along the line, too.

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The best month of the year

It’s October, and I love it. Things are cooling off after the outrageous summer we had. Leaves are starting to turn, and everything feels right again.

I was an October baby, so maybe that’s part of it. Old What’s Her Face made me some pumpkin cinnamon rolls for breakfasts. They’re nothing fancy, just the Pop & Fresh kind, but it was sweet of her.

I’ve been working my way through a variety pack of pumpkin beers from Elysian brewing. The Dark ‘O the Moon Pumpkin Stout is really good.

Pumpkin isn’t the only Fall flavor in my world. Mom sent up some of her homemade chokecherry jelly. I would have preferred syrup, but I had it on a pancake this morning anyway. It’s a taste of Fall from my childhood.

We’ve been fiddling with Halloween themed shows to watch. RL Stein has a more adult themed series of films on Netflix. Old What’s Her Face loved the first one, but I had a tough time getting into it. It’s a long month, so there could be something good coming up.

She used her birthday money and bought a Traeger Grill. She loves her gadgets and had to have the one that connects to her phone via wifi. She likes the idea of adjusting the temps while out doing other things. This meant she had to name it. She called it “The Chamber of Barbecue Secrets.” I figured you guys would get a chuckle out of that, I did.

Things are going to get busy at Entertaining Stories, too. I’m taking the entire Hat Series out on tour. This involves having written a bunch of unique posts, so they’re all worth reading. I’ll reblog everything here in an attempt to drive traffic to my hosts. There are going to be some free days, so if you’ve wanted to get into this series, this is a good month to dive in. One volume per week, and it all kicks off at Teri’s Bad Moon Rising event. Promoting a paranormal series in October feels like the right thing to do.

It’s important to support your hosts. If any of you feel so inclined, share the posts from their sites. This could boost their traffic and net them some new followers.

I’ll be watching the comments all month, so let me hear from you along the route.

I sent the second to last chapter of Good Liniment out to my critique group, and Lanternfish is in the hands of my formatter. This means starting all over again when I publish Lanternfish, and getting ready for Good Liniment in the late winter sometime.

Are any of you excited for Fall, October in general, or Halloween? Let me hear from you.

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Indie Feature Friday: C.S. Boyack’s Lizzie and the Hat Paranormal Mystery Series

I discovered this review post over at SC Jensen’s place this morning. It feels like the perfect welcome to October for me. Stop over and check it out. I’ve read Jensen’s first Bubbles in Space novel, and it’s well worth checking out, too.

Have you ever been completely caught off guard by a series?

Have you picked up a book that sounds interesting–if a little quirky and weird–and then been totally blown away?

I know, I say “quirky” and “weird” as if that’s not exactly what I’m usually looking for. You know I love quirky and weird. The challenge is finding quirky and weird and good all together in once place.

Read the rest, here.

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Posed in Death by Judi Lynn #Newbook

Let’s all welcome Judi Lynn today. She’s got a new book to talk about, and I love her explanations for how it came about. I tend to read and write like she does. Check out the book, and feel free to use those sharing buttons to help spread the word.

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I want to thank Craig for inviting me to his blog. I’ve been a fan of his writing and his blog posts on Story Empire for a long time. I’ve been waiting for the third and final novel of his Lanternfish trilogy since I fell in love with Serang in the first one.

I’m here today to promote my latest novel, POSED IN DEATH. I usually write cozies, but this time, my story is much darker. And I’m blaming it all on Louis Kincaid. I’m hooked on P.J. Parrish’s series about the P.I./detective. I don’t know about other writers, but what I read affects what I write. I read a lot of cozies, historical mysteries, and only a few thrillers. That is, until I bought my first Louis Kincaid. Now, I read more thrillers than I used to.

I can’t read any one author over and over again, back-to-back. I get more critical with each book and bore faster. I need to change things up. So, I usually read two cozies, a historical, another couple of cozies, something outside the mystery genre, then a cozy, then a thriller, and on and on. I’d never make it as a binge reader or TV watcher. And I learned that if I write the same characters back-to-back, even though I love them, I get just as bored. So, I need to switch things up. (Luckily, in real life, I don’t have this problem. I haven’t gotten bored with HH yet😊 But I do have to constantly find new recipes to make because I’ve already made some of mine too many times.)

For a while, I wrote paranormal mysteries between my Jazzi and Ansel cozies, and that helped. I tried to write a few different cozies with different characters, like my Lux novels and A Cut Above, and it helped, but not as much. Those had the same FEEL. They didn’t quite do the trick. It was like reading a Lynn Cahoon Tourist Trap cozy and then going to a Kim Davis Diva cozy. They were both fun, but I was ready for something different. And that’s when I discovered Louis Kincaid. That’s also when I got the idea to write something darker. And it was wonderful. It did the trick. I’m ready to tackle another Jazzi and Ansel now.

Writing darker is a gamble. I’m not sure readers who like my cozies will want something that features a serial killer. But my agent said I had too many cozy elements in the story to call it a true thriller. And that’s true. But I wanted to focus on the theme of marriage. And this worked for me. So, it felt like a gamble worth taking.

Posed In Death: Nick and Laurel Mystery/Thriller 1 – Kindle edition by Lynn, Judi. Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.

Thanks again, Craig, for sharing your blog with me!

Bio:

Judi Lynn lives in Indiana with her husband, a bossy gray cat, and a noisy Chihuahua. She loves to cook and owns more cookbooks than any mortal woman would ever need. That’s why so much food sneaks into her stories. She also loves her flower beds, but is a haphazard gardener, at best.

My blog & webpage: http://writingmusings.com/

My author Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/JudiLynnwrites/

Twitter: @judypost

On BookBub at Judi Lynn with a link to Judith Post (for my urban fantasies): https://www.bookbub.com/authors/judi-lynn

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Side projects and group blogs

I might have mentioned it, but I started a side project a month or so ago. I have a loose idea of a trilogy, and wanted to keep something going.

My plan is to have someplace to dabble whenever I have an hour. I learned some lessons from Lanternfish, and I can wait to publish until the whole thing is complete.

Right now, I have the final Lanternfish coming some time late Fall or early Winter. Good Liniment will follow maybe in February. I have time to fiddle with something while I scheme about promo and other needs.

Right now, the side project is at 22,000 words. This milestone stuck in my mind because of something I’m working on for Story Empire. It’s going to be a series about three act structure. At this length, I’m pretty much through act one.

I decided to assess my own story through the lens of act one. This is a found family kind of story, and all characters are on the table. Without a ton of backstory, readers should know who they are and what makes them tick.

I’m always weak on setting, but feel like readers will understand this is science fiction, and each location will differ to a degree. I have to remind myself to detail each new place, but we haven’t gone there yet.

We haven’t seen the actual bad guys, but witnessed some of their handiwork in the form of a terrorist act. Still debating whether to put a character on site, or let them experience it via news broadcasts. Since it’s a side project, I could go back and change things. It’s pretty clear what the problem is, and what kind of plan my characters have.

Because this is intended to be a trilogy, the plan is more personal. They’ll get exposed to the bigger picture as the story unfolds. They’ll need a different plan. I couldn’t do it quite the same way in a stand-alone.

If I’m missing anything, it has to be the stakes. Important in act one of a stand alone, but I have some wiggle room in a trilogy. They’ll figure it out as they get exposed to a bigger universe.

That’s something to consider for my Story Empire posts. I have four posts planned, but there should be a wrap up, and I might get some Expansion Packs out of the deal. Three act structure isn’t a rigid framework.

I’m already moving into parts of Act Two before I finish Act One. This is how it should work in a book. It’s not quite the same as a stage production. My characters are already dabbling in training and research. We might not get to the stakes for a few more chapters.

Eventually, I’ll start another main project. It will probably be something for Lizzie and the hat. If that doesn’t happen until Winter, that’s fine by me.

In other news, I picked more Asian pears this morning, washed them up, then restocked the refrigerator. They’re so much better this year for some reason. It could be the tree is maturing, might be the extra effort I put into thinning them this Spring. Might even be the extreme summer we had. Either way, I’m eating them for as long as they’re still good.

Have a good weekend, everyone.

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All that other stuff

It’s been hard to come up with blog fodder lately. There isn’t that much interesting stuff happening. I’m still trying to figure out some October promo. I’d better get it together, because it will be here before I know what’s happening.

I came up with a series for Three Act Structure I want to post on Story Empire. One of them is hacked out, but I want to let it ferment for a day or two before I schedule it. The others should be easy enough to create when I need my next post.

A friend is going on a release tour. I assembled all her materials and scheduled her stop ahead of time. I always give priority to others, and try to make sure they’re taken care of.

I’m still swimming in Asian pears. I tried baking one the other day, but didn’t give it enough time in the oven. I also needed better things to stuff it with. Might try it again. I ate a couple fresh from the tree today, so I should be good on the fiber meter.

This afternoon, I sent another chapter to my Critique group. Sometime in the next week I should have them all back. My next amazing stunt has to be sending Lanternfish to the formatter. I want it to come out sometime in November.

Other than that, I dabbled on my side project for a while. Came to 1300 words, so nothing all that special.

Oh, and I spent an hour on the phone with my daughter. She has raccoons in her yard and sent some pictures. They look like this year’s babies and are probably looking for something to eat. Cute, but best to stay away from them.

Doesn’t seem like a lot for a week. I used to blog three times per week, plus host Lisa Burton Radio. This year has really gotten to me and I don’t seem to have some of the same mojo.

Hope all of you had good weeks and have better weekends.

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Slow weekend

This was one of my two day weekends. These seem to happen more frequently around holidays, and it is what it is. That didn’t leave much time for author chores.

Our daughter came to visit on Friday. She spent the night and I had a wonderful visit with her on Saturday. No lamenting that time. I really enjoyed our time together, but it didn’t leave much room for anything else.

Still loaded with Asian pears. I tried to send a bag home with my daughter, but she passed. I might have to look up some recipes for them.

I really boogered up the last chapter of Good Liniment I shared with my critique group. I spent the rest of Saturday trying to repair it, and still don’t like it.

I spent this morning talking to my parents. They got to go pick choke cherries, and I’m kind of jealous. It sounds like such a nice day afield. Things like that aren’t in the cards for me right now, so I’ll have to live through their adventures.

This afternoon, I went beyond the crappy chapter, and some of the repairs seemed to work better there. Still don’t feel confident about it. I’ve gone from being excited to worried about this book.

Hopefully, by 2022, I’ll get over it. I have so many ideas for Lizzie and the hat, and this story needs to be one of them in my mind. I even made some notes to improve a story that’s four books down the line.

I spent a little time trying to cobble together something for a bit of October promo. That’s always been my best month, and while I don’t have a new release for the Halloween season, I have plenty of options to draw some interest.

I also wrote back material for Wreck of the Lanternfish. I got a little emotional addressing the eventual readers. I’ve spent a lot of time and effort with these characters over the last few years. It’s nearly ready to go. Once I get paid, I’ll probably contact my formatter. Or, I might read through it once again. Who knows.

That’s it for my author’s time. It might not seem like much, but I moved the pegs a little on several projects. I didn’t write any new words, but there will be other weekends.

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Long Weekend

Like most of you, I had a long weekend. Old What’s Her Face had to work, so I wound up left to my own devices.

At one time, I talked about making sauerkraut again. She bought me some from the store. It isn’t the same concept, because I wanted to make it. It still made for a tasty supper with a Polska kielbasa. Might have to break down and make some anyway.

I worked on edits, and sent something to my crit group. They were all off this weekend, too. I never expected a rapid turn around, and I hope everyone had a good time. Since publication target is late winter, there is plenty of time.

That left me with my side project. I’ve gone over the first few chapters more than any others I’ve ever written. Right now, I’m pretty happy with them. I’m introducing main characters in two different locations, but they finally managed to come together before the weekend came to a close. We entered space, traveled across part of the galaxy, and committed an unintended murder. Now one of the characters has to run, and it’s reason enough for everyone to wind up on the same ship.

I’m going with five main characters since this is likely going to be a trilogy. Five, or thirty, main characters, depending on how you count the clones. It’s complicated. (You guys know how my imagination comes into play.)

As I get acquainted with the characters, some personalities are starting to develop. There have been a few crass remarks flung around. This might sound strange, but I always have an idea of who they are, but as they interact on the page it develops more than I roughed out.

I managed a pretty good bit of emasculating dialog. I kind of like how it came out. Former lovers are something I’ve never written before.

All told, I probably added about 7000 new words to it. Can’t keep calling it “It,” but I don’t have a title yet.

The Muse is torturing me with this future story for Lizzie and the hat. I like to plan ahead, but this one is about five down the line. Seems a bit excessive, but I can’t seem to stop her once she starts inspiring. It involves a twist on some Asian mythos. Things like the afterlife, spirits, and reincarnation. I already have a list of magical artifacts and creatures going. I dedicated some time to research because it’s so interesting. I already have a few humorous things in mind, so that’s positive.

Outside of that, I have Asian pears running out my ears. I’ve been eating them all weekend. They keep pretty well, so I may have to claim part of the vegetable crisper. For now, I’m leaving them on the tree. Works for now, but isn’t a long term solution.

That’s about it. It’s time for supper, and some more Asian pears. Hope all of you enjoyed your weekend, too.

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