It’s a book now. Lisa Burton and I will be touring it around for a few weeks, and I hope to see you along the route. I’ll be sharing those posts here so they’re easy to find. Each post is unique, so they won’t get repetitive.
I hope everyone will give it a chance. Short novel length, dark humor, characters that everyone has enjoyed before. Check it out.
If there were a book that looked a whole lot like this, would you read it?
I mention this, because it’s probably coming next week. Lizzie and the hat are chasing a new monster for them. Werewolves are tragic, and Lizzie has a problem with this. The human part of the monster has no idea what happens a couple of nights per month.
I’ll probably pull the trigger on Sunday night. Weekends aren’t the best time to publish, but they’re all I have so I’m making due. I’ll spend the weekend getting blog tour posts ready, then hit some of you up to host me if you’re game. I already have a bunch of offers.
Early sales are important, so I’d appreciate it if you’d consider that. You can read it this fall if you like, but Amazon takes those early sales into account. Also, Otto needs a new ball if you know what I mean.
Watch this space for more information. I’ll update the side bar and such with the new book and link once I have it. I’ll make every tour stop unique, so they’ll be worth reading. I can also reblog to support my hosts without sharing the same material every time.
So yay! Cover reveal! New book coming, and I’m excited to publish one this month before school lets out.
I already posted about all the family things and the Kentucky Derby. I didn’t get a mountain of stuff accomplished, but there is some.
I decided to put Lunar Boogie through Amazon’s machine. I like the way I can save a draft, review things, but not actually publish it. Stories in the hat series always have some last minute formatting issues. This is due to all the little graphics that go along with the stories. I even tried to use emojis at one point, but they didn’t translate.
I sent a message off to my formatter, and we’ll see what she can do about it. A few of the standard graphics moved around, too. That’s normal, and it’s nice to have a week or two to address everything.
I like to keep doing corny things in this series, because it’s part of the charm. Readers expect it, and it’s nice to change it up from time to time. I have plans to photograph a text thread eventually, then include it in a future book. Adding a photo should be just like adding a drawing.
I turned my attention to blog tour posts. Whenever I take a book on tour, I like to make every post unique. That way, I never feel bad about reblogging them all. They are more than a cover and blurb type post, and eventually I might snag a reader along the way. I have six written so far, but need a few more.
This morning, I turned my attention back to Lanternfish. It was moderately successful and involved Diego Palumbo doing some advance scouting and spying for Serang’s army. I created an unplanned situation that I like, but now I have to figure out what to do with it.
Diego tried to sell information to the Crier’s Guild about the new Royal Governor of Prelonia. He didn’t know whether the story was true or not, but hoped their reaction would either confirm or deny the rumor for him. He wound up being offered a position as a town crier in Hollish territory.
Diego accepted just to get the free gold. Of course he was always going to return to Serang. However, he now has the trappings of a town crier. Since Diego and Camila are cons, he could use these to spread false news that could wind up benefiting the Prelonian war effort.
Honestly, this happened on the fly, and I need some time to think about it. It could add a fun aspect to the story. Oh, and I actually used the word “miasma” in a sentence. It’s a good old-fashioned word that seems to fit the era of a Lanternfish tale. I like it.
All told, it only amounted to about half a chapter. No word count to post, because it wasn’t that big. I think it was a good section, and now I have to put the results of his spying into action. That’s a project for a different weekend.
Not my best day ever, but not bad either. Some big things happened without including tons of adventure.
The Palumbos met up with Serang and her army. They delivered what might be the most important piece to the whole war. Things are starting to fall into place.
James is still off somewhere doing his part, so I didn’t get to work on his story today.
Honestly, I think I could have done more, but there was another squirrel festival happening in the back yard. At one point, I let Frankie out, and before I could write a single word, another squirrel showed up. Trust me, she is strong enough to worry about the glass slider, so I let her out again.
My plot struggle now is timing. I have a continental sized war going on, and people can’t just get together without travel on horseback. A few weeks ago, I introduced the Crier’s Guild, and that helps with fleshing some things out. That way, I don’t have to write about every single campsite or battle that happens. I change scenes, and the town crier updates my readers.
I need at least one more battle for Serang, then it might be advantageous to lose track of her for a while. That way, when she shows up it can be a surprise that turns the tide somewhere. Bears some thought, at least.
James has some problems to sort out in the south, and that’s going to involve at least two battles. I have a fun plan for him on the second one.
After that, it should all be pretty easy. The big issue is making it feel real from here to there. I don’t want to write every step, and readers would get bored. I still have to include some changing seasons or something so readers can tell I’ve moved the story along.
This is a good time to stop and put thought into the gap I’m worried about. I’ll take 2100 words any day. Absent squirrels it could have been more.
I have a post written for Story Empire, so I need to check the calendar and schedule it.
It’s also a good time to assess some promo for Lunar Boogie. I have my completed MS back from the formatter, and am only waiting for the last Lisa Burton poster. This weekend, I can start advance hacking on blog tour posts for when I publish. It looks like I’m going to get it out before summer and I’m excited for that.
I scratched this weekend off as far as writing is concerned. Our daughter was supposed to come and we were going to help celebrate her birthday.
When you live in a smaller town, you keep a list of things you want to do when you do go somewhere bigger. Our daughter is living that now. One of her goals was to visit her hairdresser. The hairdresser came down with Covid and cancelled. This means our daughter isn’t coming and will have to reschedule.
I get it. She’s a young woman making her own way out there, and even the gasoline has to be accounted for. I would reschedule things myself in her place.
That left me with available time, so I used it to write. I’m in a tough transitional part of my story, so it was slow going.
My main character, James, has to give up everything and step into a new role. I tried to show a few emotions, but probably didn’t dive deep enough into that. Project for later.
I moved James inland to get involved in the land war. He’s separated from his son, who is MIA, but he has to go.
Transitions are part of every story, but I find them difficult. The words don’t flow quite as well as they do in the exciting parts. It came to just over 1800 words today.
Now that he’s relocated, it’s time to review all available intelligence. That will move to making plans, and things tend to pick up from there. The last line for today involved him hearing a rumor about Serang and her army. Some of this has to happen before all the characters can converge once more.
Saturday is looking like a writing day, too. Things might move faster since I put the work in today. I still have to figure out what to do with the root monsters. They’re with James, but can’t steal from his allies. I’m sure there is some kind of mischief they can get into along the way.
Let’s all welcome Harmony Kent to the blog. Harmony is an old friend, one of my Story Empire partners, and she has a new book to tell us about. Don’t be afraid to use some of those sharing buttons to help her spread the word.
Hi everyone. Harmony here. Thanks so much, Craig, for letting me visit with you today. I’m so thrilled to share the launch of my latest book with you all.
The Vanished Boy is a mystery suspense novel based around a teenaged boy, who’s gone missing. The book follows the mother as she trawls through her missing son’s online life and realises, to her horror, how out of the loop she’s become.
The inspiration for this novel came from watching a number of movies based on how our lives both revolve around and are influenced by the Internet and mobile devices. Although these movies covered many genres such as murder/mystery, thriller, and the supernatural, they all centred around the same theme: Apps and living life online. This led me to ponder how many of us spend our lives in digital pursuits rather than physical—both the old and the young? For many people, their actual physical lives become but a shadow compared to their online existence.
Mostly, the shift to a digital world happens slowly. It’s incremental and, too often, insidious. All of which led me to ask how well do we actually know our children? Our loved ones? Those around us? What might be going on in the shadows?
From that inspiration and questioning, this story was born. Much of life and our actions originate from the same needs and wants: to be loved and accepted, the ability to differentiate between truth and lies, and the things we do to cover our mistakes and make ourselves look better than the reality instead of owning who we are. The good, the bad, and the ugly.
Enraged and desperate, Carole sprints forwards and nearly knocks the girl over before she manages to skid to a stop on the wet paving stones. The girl leaps back.
‘What the fuck?’ She looks at her friends in an evident bid for fortification and encouragement. ‘Woah, crazy-woman alert.’
Carole gasps for air, bent over at the waist and hands braced against her knees. She straightens and holds up her palms. After a couple of seconds, she says, ‘I’m Jay’s mum.’ Her lungs burn. She’s too old for this sort of exertion.
The girl scowls at her. Around them, a bunch of kids pull out their phones. ‘Yeah, so? Why should I care?’
God, the idiot’s as obnoxious and rude in real life as she is online. Carole bites back her temper, but only just. ‘You said he was with you. Where is he?’
The girl smirks, and her lips lift in a sneer.
Carole steps forwards so she stands too far into the girl’s personal space. She plants her hands on her hips and glares at the teen. Through a tight jaw, she says, ‘Where. Is. He?’
The obnoxious girl rolls her eyes. ‘I was having a laugh. Lawd, everyone’s, like, freaking out. I mean, just chill, right.’
That does it—Carole’s temper flares white-hot, and she loses it. Her animal brain takes over. She flies at obnoxious gal, knocks the large tub of popcorn from her hands, and grabs her around the throat. In her peripheral vision, more phones get pulled out. Some flash as their owners snap pictures, but most of them hold out the screens to record the night’s excitement.
After spending around thirteen years as an ordained Buddhist monk, living in a Zen Buddhist temple, and six years after a life-changing injury following a surgical error, Harmony Kent returned to the world at the tender age of forty.
Now, she is famous for her laughter, and has made quite the name for herself … she’s also, um, a writer … and fairly well known for that too. She’s even won a few awards. Harmony lives in rural Cornwall with her adorable husband, ever-present sense of humour, and quirky neighbours.
Harmony is passionate about supporting her fellow authors.
For the first time in over a century, Clyde will know what it means to feel powerless and weak.
Headless bodies appearing across Windemere is only the beginning as Clyde faces the terrifying vampire hunter, Alastyre. Able to match the Dawn Fang leader in power and ferocity, this new menace shows no signs of weakness or mercy. With both friends and enemies getting dragged into the battle, Clyde will have to find a way to become stronger. For that, he will have to accept an ancient challenge and pray that those he cares about and trusts can hold Alastyre at bay. Which monster of Windemere will claim the top of the food chain?
Want to hear more? Enjoy this Teaser!
Alastyre disappears for a moment before reappearing in front of Clyde and grinning at how the Dawn Fang does not react. “I have waited many years for this day. You probably don’t remember me since it has been so long. The temptation to tell Mab the truth when she was my captive was so strong that I knew I needed more time to mature. I should only feel happy and excited when we are about to clash. By the way, your enemies put up an entertaining fight. It lasted no more than a couple of minutes, but I enjoyed it. My hope is that your reputation is true and I will get to use my full power for once. The thought of ripping your head off and adding it to my collection is one of the few dreams that gives my life meaning. Is this where we’re going to fight? I see that there is a lot of sand and giant boulders scattered about. Do you use this courtyard as a large rock garden in order to relax? You are a more amusing monster than I expected.”
“I don’t like you,” Mab growls before she is grabbed by the face.
“A drug-addicted worm should watch-”
“Put . . . my . . . partner . . . down,” Clyde growls from behind the hunter. The illusionary vampire fades away as the real one materializes, his gauntlet sword already pressed against the man’s meaty neck. “You say we’ve met before and you’ve been training to fight me. Looks more like you’ve altered yourself to become a freak. The smell of your blood reeks of corruptive magic and demon influence. There’s a hint of Dawn Fang and dragon in there too. You’re nothing more than a glorified golem. Bunch of parts and auras cobbled together to turn a weak mortal into a monster. I’m not impressed, Alan Stryker. Still trying to strike fear into the rotting hearts of my kind? At least your name isn’t as stupid as it was before.”
“Wait, do you mean that guy who attacked you outside of Lord Shallis’s castle?” Titus asks with a chuckle. He grunts when his sister is thrown into him, the force sending the siblings crashing against the patio’s railing. “I told you that keeping him alive was a mistake, but I didn’t think it would turn into this. You must be angry that nobody believed your story about vampires that are immune to the sun. Is that what this is about?”
With a casual flick of his finger, Alastyre sends Clyde’s sword and arm flying across the courtyard. “No because it was another hunter who survived and told that tale. Your leader was so distracted with Mab biting him that he failed to notice a second mortal that he failed to kill. I focused on recovery and getting stronger because I refused to follow such a ridiculous plan. The fewer people who knew about the Dawn Fangs, the better my chances were at being the one to succeed. Please know that I only want to destroy your leadership. Originally, I wished to wipe all of you out of existence, but that could prove to be impossible. You monsters are more talented at hiding than anything else I have hunted, so I could never be sure of your extinction. The next best thing is to take over Nyetfall and use it as a jail for your kind. All Dawn Fangs will be contained on this island once they no longer have their precious rulers. Don’t you agree that this is much better than extermination, Clyde?”
“I have no opinion because it’s never going to happen.”
“Do you accept my challenge?”
“You never officially made one.”
“I demand that you fight me to the death.”
“Thank you for being straightforward and not making me hunt you down.”
“We fight in an hour then.”
“Why not now?” Alastyre points while mentioning, “You are still missing an arm. I want to face you at full strength.”
“Don’t say I didn’t give you a chance,” the Dawn Fang says as he continues healing the injury.
Interested in more Windemere? Then don’t forget to check out Charles E. Yallowitz’s first series: Legends of Windemere
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 spending many years fiddling with his thoughts and notebooks, he decided that it was time to follow his dream of being a fantasy author. So, locked within the house with only pizza and seltzer to sustain him, Charles brings you tales from the world of Windemere. He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you and drawing you into a world of magic.
Hi gang, gather ’round. Joan Hall is here with her latest release. Joan is one of my Story Empire partners, and a great author. This one is smart, because it’s a prequel short story. I like the idea of something to whet appetites for the main event.
Make sure she feels welcome, check out her book, and use those sharing buttons before you leave. We all thrive on comments, so don’t be shy. I’ll let Joan take it from here.
House of Sorrow: April 1970
Thank you for hosting me today, Craig. I appreciate the opportunity to tell your readers about my newest release.
House of Sorrow is a short-story prequel to my upcoming novel Cold Dark Night, book one of my Legends of Madeira series. It’s the story of Ruth Hazelton, a reclusive older woman who lives in a two-story Victorian house in the fictional town of Madeira, New Mexico. Ruth reflects on her life, particularly when she and her husband Lee first moved to town.
Most of the scenes occur in the late 1960s/early 1970s, so I included historical events into the story along with a few personal memories. Today is the fifty-first anniversary of one such event.
In April 1970, John Wayne won his first Oscar for his portrayal of Rooster Cogburn in True Grit. Midnight Cowboy received the award for Best Picture.
But not all was rosy that month. Paul McCartney announced the break-up of the Beatles on April 10, leaving thousands of fans in mourning. The following day their song, “Let it Be” reached number one on the charts, where it stayed for two weeks. A rather bittersweet farewell.
On April 13, an explosion crippled the Apollo 13 spacecraft carrying astronauts Jim Lovell, Fred Haise, and Jack Swigert. The next four days were tense as NASA worked diligently to bring them home alive. With the command module virtually useless, the lunar module became a lifeboat.
Many people believe the number thirteen brings bad luck, including Ruth’s neighbor, Sam. He’s a bit of a curmudgeon who doesn’t believe men should be “Messing around in the heavens.” Sam tries to convince Ruth the Apollo 13 accident was inevitable.
Like many Americans, Ruth had grown accustomed to moon launches. When Apollo 13 blasted off on April 11, she didn’t give it a second thought. Even Lee had grown disinterested, which was a good thing since none of the major television networks carried the astronaut’s live broadcast on the evening of April 13.
The following morning, Ruth sat in the porch swing, enjoying the cool spring breeze.
The Marsh girls waved to her from next door as they left for school.
“I’ll have cookies when you get home from school.”
“If that’s what you want. How about you, Tina?”
The older girl shrugged. “Whatever.”
“Is something wrong?”
Tina shrugged again.
“She’s in mourning,” Amanda said.
Ruth cocked an eyebrow. “Mourning? Why?
“Because the Beatles broke up.”
Ruth suppressed a smile. She’d been a teenager and knew what it was like when inconsequential things seemed like the end of the world. She watched until the sisters were out of sight.
Sam waved to her from his yard. It was Millie’s day to volunteer at the nursing home.
“Did you hear about Apollo 13?” he shouted.
“No. I haven’t turned on the television.”
He hurried across the street. Sat in his usual chair. “There was an explosion.”
“Explosion? How horrible. Are the astronauts okay?”
“Had to move them into them lunar module, hoping to keep them alive. NASA is working to bring them home.”
“Let’s pray they do.”
Sam shook a finger. “What did I tell you about messing around with the moon? Somebody’s trying to tell us something.”
Dream home or damned home?
Ruth Hazelton is over the moon when her husband Lee agrees the nineteenth-century Victorian in Madeira, New Mexico, is the perfect home for them. While he starts his new job as police chief, she sets about unpacking and decorating.
But it’s not long before Ruth needs more. She becomes a fixture in the community, making time for everyone, volunteering, hosting events—she’s every bit the social butterfly her husband is not. Through her friendships, she learns several former residents of her home met with untimely deaths. If she were superstitious, she might fear a curse, but such nonsense doesn’t faze her.
Until the unthinkable happens.
Now, as the end of Ruth’s life draws near, she must convey her message and stop the cycle to prevent anyone else from suffering in the house of sorrow.
I’ve been working toward this scene for a long time. I knew the writing would go fast, but that usually means it needs repairs. I’ll do what I can on that front later.
Serang reached the Fulminite temple with her army. This place wasn’t quite the pushover some of her previous battle were. They stacked the deck as best as possible, but those Black Assassins are rough.
Then there was the High Detonator, who Serang faced alone. I like the way this scene played out, because she snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. (Stealing an old World of Sports line)
I also enjoyed the final appearance of the Fu Dogs. I got a bit emotional writing it, but that’s nothing new. (Who knows, I may decide I need them one more time as the rest of this tale unfolds. It really feels like the end for them.)
There is also a bit where Serang has to do a bit of soul searching. (While drunk, as is her way.) I want to go back over that to make it perfect. It involves the realization that she was born of the great temple purge, and she just did the same thing to the Fulminites. The temple purging has driven her entire life, and now she has to face this.
I also actually used onomatopoeia in one place. I’ve added some graphics to The Hat series before, but nothing quite like this. I think it works, but there is plenty of time to think it over.
I’d like to get more words out of this, but action scenes shouldn’t be long drawn out affairs. Yes, it was a city wide battle. I followed Serang, and readers will have to assume other fighting was going on at the same time.
Grand total today was 3500 words. That includes the opening volley, fighting in the streets, the one-on-one battle, plus dealing with Fu Dogs and Serang’s drinking binge. Somehow I thought all this would fill chapters, but it feels right as is.
Next up is Serang getting over herself, then making plans, and delivering a speech to the peasants. I want that to come off like a big deal.
What’s your thought on action scenes? I think they need to be short. I could make this more of a battlefront with several action scenes, punctuated by reflective sections, but I don’t think it needs it. Serang is still a hero, and on her worst day she still kicks ass.
I want to welcome back an old friend today. Sue Coletta writes these amazing murder mysteries, and if you haven’t discovered her you’re missing out.
Make her feel welcome, and make sure to use those sharing buttons to help with her latest release. The new book sounds wonderful, so I’ll let her tell you all about it.
It’s impossible to talk about my Mayhem Series without the mention of crows. For those who don’t know, Mr. Mayhem has three top crows: Poe, Allan, and Edgar. When I first introduced crows into the series, they were supposed to be sidekicks—someone for Mr. Mayhem to chat with during his late-night excursions—but Poe evolved into so much more. I’ve read some reviews that say he’s their favorite character. Not the humans mind you, but Poe, the lead crow of Mayhem’s murder. In I AM MAYHEM, I introduced one more “special” crow, but I can’t tell you why without ruining the surprise.
As an aside: Poe’s based on a real crow who comes when I call.
With each new book, I take another plunge into crow research. After years of studying crow behavior, one might think I’ve learned all I could about corvids, but I always find something new.
Humans often believe we are the only species to possess certain traits, behaviors, or abilities, especially with regard to cognition. Occasionally, we extend such traits to primates or other “higher” mammals—species we share fundamental brain similarities.
Few look toward the sky. Yet, crows, ravens, and other corvids are making multipart tools like hooked sticks to reach grubs, solving geometry puzzles, and one particularly kind magpie even nudged a clueless hedgehog across the highway before it became roadkill.
A crow’s brain is enormous compared to their body, and they don’t waste a morsel of it. Crows have long impressed scientists with their intelligence and creativity.
Now, crows can add one more feather to their brainiac cap: A new study unveiled in Science magazine found that crows inherently know things and can ponder the content of their own minds, a manifestation of higher intelligence and analytical thought believed only capable by humans and a few other higher mammals.
German scientists put crows through a series of puzzling tasks. During which they measured neural activity in different types of neurons, with the goal of tracking how crows sensed and reasoned through their work. They sought to study a specific kind of thinking called sensory consciousness.
Sensory consciousness isn’t as simple as the definition: awareness of the visual, tactile, olfactory, auditory, and taste qualities of stimuli. Sensory consciousness arises from specific brain processes. In simpler terms, the sensory feel of an experience is not something that happens to us, but rather, it’s a skill we exercise. It also differs from other mental phenomena, like conscious thought or memory.
Consider the difference between physically feeling pain vs. imagining that you feel pain. Or rubbing the softness of fleece between your fingertips vs. envisioning how fleece might feel. We writers use our sensory consciousness all the time.
Do crows have this ability, too?
To answer that question, we first need to understand the difference between our brains and birds lies within the design. Mammals’ brains are layered like club sandwiches, while birds’ brains are arranged more like pizza. All the pieces are there but they’re not stacked like ours.
Another important note about sensory consciousness: The ability to have subjective experiences that can be explicitly accessed and thus reported arises from brain processes that emerged through evolutionary history, and dates back 320 million years ago when birds diverged from mammalian lineage.
After the crows got comfortable within the testing environment, scientists introduced a rule—a red cue for “yes, they’d seen the stimulus” or blue for “no, they hadn’t.”
The results stunned scientists, and affirmed crows do in fact possess sensory consciousness.
To reconcile sensory consciousness in birds and mammals, one scenario would postulate that birds and mammals inherited the trait of consciousness from their last-common ancestor, and crows tucked this superpower in the ol’ memory bank for at least 320 million years. Amazing, right?
As bloody, severed body parts show up on her doorstep, Shawnee Daniels must stop the serial killer who wants her dead before she becomes the next victim.
But can she solve his cryptic clues before it’s too late? Or will she be the next to die a slow, agonizing death?
With crows stalking her every move, Shawnee can barely function. Things worsen when body parts show up on her doorstep. An unstoppable serial killer wants her dead. Mr. Mayhem threatens to murder everyone she loves, sending Shawnee a piece at a time.
As Mr. Mayhem sits in judgement, his cryptic clues must be solved before the final gavel drops. The game rules are simple—win the unwinnable or submit to a slow, agonizing death.
When Shawnee tries to fight back, she discovers her very existence is based on lies. But the full impact of the truth might become the headstone on Shawnee’s grave.