Unexpected progress

This is my short weekend, and my wife is off at the same time. I never really expected any writing progress, so I’m pleasantly surprised.

I have a tree I need to prune and we wanted to check out a new restaurant while we still had some Biden Bucks in our account.

Old What’s Her Face insisted we hit the restaurant at 11:00, because it’s so new. A big lunch will require us to skip dinner, but it turned out to be a pretty good idea. When arrived, there was already a line down the sidewalk.

The place is called Sid’s Garage, and it’s a burger joint, but a really upscale burger joint. I had something called the Jekyll & Hyde burger. (Really, how could I pass up something with that name.) It had a grilled peach atop a Wagyu beef patty. It was wonderful.

We shared a basket of Parmesan truffle fries, and a small plate of flash fried deviled eggs. I’ve never even heard of something like this. They’re like the love child of deviled eggs and Scotch eggs.

They also have fancy milkshakes. It’s to early for beer, so I went for one that was peach and pralines with a bit of bourbon maple flavor to it. It looked like this. Oh yeah, there was a crumble of candied bacon on top.

I mentioned writing, so here’s that brief. I never planned on writing. Somehow, I wound up closing myself into an alternate room before lunch and tearing into my project. Before it was time to get ready, I dealt with moving Lanternfish into position for the big battle.

After a bunch of orders and prep, it was time for the cannon to roar and a whole new kind of trouble to face my crew. Exploding monks made an appearance, but I had to stop just before Mal pulled one of his witch doctor shenanigans to benefit the war effort.

I’m telling you, things were really working for me this morning. It came to 2500 words and I feel like I could have doubled that given the time.

Sometimes, you have to spend time with your wife and chow down on something incredibly bad for you. With that kind of word count, I think today was a big win all around.

41 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized, Writing

Nothing like a long drive

I woke up at five o’clock on Sunday. By visiting my parents, I missed out on a visit from my daughter. Old What’s Her Face said if I got on the road by seven, our daughter would stick around Boise and cut my hair. It felt kind of abusive of her time, but I wanted to see her.

The drive started before sunrise, and I enjoyed the dawning across the high desert. This is something I used to see every day, but took for granted.

By the time I reached Lone Mountain Station, there she was. It’s still winter, so she wore a bulky sweater, tights and knee high boots. Her shock of long brown hair moved slightly in the breeze. She watched two vehicles drive by, then stuck out her thumb as I approached.

I eased into the parking lot, then rolled down the window. “What brings you all the way out here, Lorelei? Kind of lonely territory for a Muse.”

“You.”

I watched, mesmerized by her tights, as she walked around to the passenger side, then climbed inside.

“I just wanted to check in. See how your writing is going.”

“It’s been kind of slow. There were a couple of good days, but I got bogged down in the muddy middle for a while.”

“That’s familiar territory for you. Still, I know you’ve added to your storyboards. It seems like you are well primed for your next few tales.”

“Yeah, listen to this.” I turned up the music.

As she listened, I kept talking. “It’s just too obscure for Lizzie and the Pythons to play at one of their gigs.”

“Maybe when they make the movie you can include it as background music.”

“Yeah. That would be great. Since Netflix doesn’t seem to be calling, about all I can do with it is enjoy it.”

“Have you thought about making a character based around this theme?”

“That’s a great idea. He could take a supporting role for one of Lizzie’s adventures. But, I have storyboards that will take years to write out.”

“Hang onto him. He might fit on an existing board, or maybe he needs a new story.”

“Gives me something to think about.”

“That what a Muse does.”

“Of course, Good Liniment is next for that series. Then there’s The Midnight Rambler, and I have one with some gremlins, maybe one about St. Vitus’ Dance, and I’m toying with one that will take Lizzie to the Kentucky Derby.”

“How did you come up with that?”

“The hat, of course. He would hate to be one of those fancy women’s hats. I can get some comedic mileage out of that.”

“That’s a paragraph. You’re going to need a bit more.”

“Okay, Good Liniment will expand the witchcraft world. Readers asked for that, but I wanted Lizzie to evolve into her position for a few tales. There are going to be a bunch of new characters in that story. One of which is a horse lover in the form of the headless horseman. I figure he can be the herald to walk Lizzie into some problem with the horses. Weird enough for one of my tales?”

“It’s certainly weird, but so are you.”

“Thanks, I think. I don’t think I can get her there with a Barnstable Brown performance, or even Phillies and Lillies. Lizzie and the Pythons aren’t big enough for those events. I might have to invent some dive bar in the area for them to perform at.”

“Then invent one. Sounds like it’s going to take a couple of years before you write it. I’m sure something will come to you. Start a storyboard, and remember you only have about two years to complete it.”

I signaled to exit the freeway at Meridian. “What I really need is some help with Lanternfish.”

“Sorry, this is where I get out.”

“Oh, come on!”

“Anywhere near that strip mall is fine. I’ve seen your board. Lanternfish will be fine. You just need to sift through the parts until the pieces are in position for the end game. Since this is a trilogy, make sure you bring some closure to more than just James and Serang.”

“But, you could really help me.”

She leaned over and kissed my cheek. “Of course I could, but your creativity feeds me. Not the other way around. The next time you make a long drive, maybe play something other than your Lizzie and the hat playlist.”

“But, it’s such good music.”

“It really is. Sounds like that series will survive for a long time. You gained a new character out of our visit. Be happy with that.”

24 Comments

Filed under Muse, Uncategorized

Have to be happy with today

It all came to 2800 words today. I’m always apprehensive, but it feels right to me.

It started with Serang’s army making plans for a major attack. They have to keep the moon phase in mind because of the Fulminites and their special ability.

What I didn’t care for was the three page chapter. I try not to do those, but I got everything I needed down and didn’t want to add filler just to make this section ten pages. I see these in books from time to time, so I figure I’m safe. It is what it must be.

I switched to James and Lanternfish, but handled this a bit differently. By this time, readers have experienced sea battles, so I told a bit to move the story along. We joined James at the aftermath of a battle where they wound up rescuing some Prelonian prisoners from the Hollish.

Then they went ashore to examine a signal from Diego Palumbo. In one of his previous sections, Diego left a bit of intelligence behind in hopes James might find it. Back in HMS Lanternfish, they used special lanterns for this purpose.

I turned recovery of the data into a root monster competition where the prize was getting a name. It became quite an event with monsters being thrown off a cliff, lots of laughter, and some confusion over what James might want. All told four monsters got names: Papers, Buckle, Fishbone, and Splat.

In brief, the army is in place with a plan. The “navy” is in the right spot, but needs to review their treasure. Even Diego and Camila are set up for their next adventure. I also have a cool sequence planned for Mal the witch doctor. And it all wrapped up with root monsters.

I’m pretty happy. The next stretch behind the keyboard will have to be James interpreting the data, but then all hell is going to break loose on multiple fronts.

Tomorrow is my errand day, then I drive to Nevada for a visit. Mom doesn’t have wifi, but I can pigtale to my phone if anyone needs me. I’m up at Story Empire with an interesting story structure. I’ll monitor comments, then check them once more before my drive. I will be out of range until I get to my parent’s home, but I can check again there.

Long drives are heavenly for spending with my Muse. I discovered a new song that gave me a character. It will be a couple of years before I can use him, but I might get an idea how a special grave digger fits into Lizzie’s universe over in the hat series. The song is too obscure for her band to play, but it’s a cool character idea.

32 Comments

Filed under Writing

It feels like progress

Today was the first decent writing day I’ve had in a while. I didn’t exactly jump on it like a leopard from the trees, but it feels pretty good.

I allowed myself to sleep in, which kind of seems like the wrong thing to do. Then I spent my first hour reading back over portions of what I already had.

This is because I have three distinct tales unfolding in this book. Since it is the third volume of a trilogy, I assume readers will already know these characters, so working it this way ought to be easier to accept.

What I have is James and Lanternfish at sea, Serang deep inland on a specific quest, then the Palumbos who are stuck somewhere in the middle pulling off their con game.

I’ve been stuck at the Palumbos for quite a while. Readers know they are being deceptive in every move they make, but they still have a couple of big deals to put in play. Today, I forced the issue.

As a story boarder, this feels like a section between the index cards that I usually free write. It’s just a bigger deal than most sections. This bit is like the summit of the whole book. From this point on the stories will start converging.

My goal is to keep readers from seeing it that way, but as the author I look at it like that.

It’s about one page less than a chapter, so it was a reasonable day word wise. I didn’t count them, but maybe 1800 or so today.

I think this chapter needs a lot of work, but in budgeting my days, I may return to it later. Both James and Serang have huge events ahead of them, but I still need to set their stages to a small degree.

Fortunately, their events don’t hinge upon each other. Meaning, I don’t have as hard a time deciding which one comes first in the story. Something tells me I need to get James in action first so we can see more of the danger and devastation everyone is facing, so I’ll probably do it that way. It will make Serang’s section that much stronger.

I’m kind of excited about today. After this, it’s going to be major action for a long time, and while that is hard to write, it tends to move pretty fast. I’ll break it up with lulls, like a section Mule has to do. There are several other things.

Bottom line, I’m happy with my output today. I might get a chance to review this section while I’m in Nevada. Tomorrow, I want to hit it hard again.

29 Comments

Filed under Writing

Some book love

Will O’ the Wisp got some book love recently. I love the idea that these older stories still attract readers from time to time. Pete from this book makes occasional appearances in The Hat series, and I have plans to have Patty show up as well.

Will O’ the Wisp

by C.S. Boyack

“Will O’ the Wisp” is a YA paranormal tale that focuses on fifteen-year-old Patty Hall. The Hall family seems to have been cursed, and Patty is determined to find out why. I love that this story is set in the 1970s. The high school dance and well-placed details of that era brought back some memories. The strained relationship between Patty and her mother is realistic, and Patty’s rebellious side is portrayed nicely, especially with wearing her leg braces. That side of her not only showed her determination, but her inner strength that’s needed to overcome evil. There were some truly terrifying parts, but there was also friendship, trust, and family. I could relate to Patty’s position that no one, other than her two friends, would believe her. If you like a teen protagonist with some horror and a strong female character, this book is for you. Five-Stars! Check out the entire post here.

11 Comments

Filed under Writing

A writer’s lament

Hi, I’m Craig, and I haven’t written a new word for two weeks. I’m unlikely to get more next week unless something changes.

Sounds like an AA meeting.

The fact is, this has been the busiest week of the year at my workplace. I was heavily involved in prep leading up to all this, too. At some point, I kind of left it all on the field, to use a sports phrase.

Old What’s Her Face and I have had the same days off, too. This isn’t particularly useful when it comes to penning new material.

I have some leave coming up, and may get to do some writing then. However, I have a stockpile of errands that will interfere to a degree if I don’t plan things well. I have to get my truck serviced, and take care of a small repair. I also have to get it sniffed for pollutants. Then there is the matter of swinging by a hardware store for some blade oil for my chainsaw. My fruit trees need some tough love and it’s best done before the sap rises.

I’ve also promised to make a quick trip to Nevada to visit my parents, so here is a rough plan. I’ll get the truck taken care of Friday morning, then go find a station that can do my sniff test. Somewhere in that vicinity, I need to find any hardware store for my oil. I will leave directly from there for Nevada. That will kill Friday, but might salvage some other days for writing purposes.

Then there is the plot problem. I’ve been dwelling on it for weeks, but have an inkling of what I want. Nothing like a long car drive to help focus some of this. It isn’t like Lanternfish needs a new character, but I’m going to introduce one. My cons can keep a secret easily enough, but adding a third party to their game could introduce some extra stress. Stress is a good thing for characters.

Normally, in times like this I would switch stories. However, I’ve finished the draft of Lunar Boogie, and want to focus on Lanternfish. It’s probably crazy, because I lost two weeks that I could have been working on something else.

I also need to keep reading what I’ve already produced. That will help me sort out what cartoons I need to order for Lunar Boogie, and I need to put some thought into Lisa Burton promotional posters.

Lisa poses a different problem. How many pirate girls can I commission here? Same thing for Lizzie and the hat. It was simple enough to do when the first book came out, and even the second volumes. This deep into both series, it gets harder to come up with things.

I’ve had Lisa pose as Serang, then in Serang’s new armor. She’s posed as Lizzie the monster hunter, Lizzie the musician, etc. I’ll figure something out, of course, but it might be a few less than I usually do.

I’m looking forward to finishing the Lanternfish trilogy. I’m down to getting the last pieces in place before things really break loose. This is the middle slog, but there are some big things planned that I expect to almost write themselves.

On the bright side, I only committed to two books this year, and one of those is drafted. I have to keep things moving, because it’s already March, but I’m not in a bad position here.

I hope all of you are doing well, and not facing your own writing problems. I’ll sort mine out, then Lanternfish will move fast.

47 Comments

Filed under Writing

Indie Feature Friday: Top 10 Cyberpunk Novels by Independent Authors

This is a collection of cyberpunk stories for you science fiction junkies. I’m proud to see Grinders mentioned in this circle. While you’re there, check out Bubbles in Space, the host’s own story that sounds wonderful.

These Indie authors are taking cyberpunk to the next level!

If you ask most SF geeks about their favourite cyberpunk novel, you’ll likely hear one of two answers. William Gibson’s Neuromancer or Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash.

I know this, because I’ve been asking! Genre research is something I take pretty seriously.

I’m halfway through Neuromancer right now, and loving it. Snow Crash is next in my traditionally published TBR pile.

But I have another TBR pile, too. One reserved for independent authors!

I try to read at least one traditional and one indie title in the genre I’m writing in every month. This keeps me up to date on both mainstream and marginal trends to make sure that I’m hitting the right tropes and also still offering readers something unique.

So, while I will be reviewing both the traditional and indie titles that I read while writing my new…

View original post 2,097 more words

15 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

I morn for the lost time

This weekend wasn’t a productive one for me. My wife was off, and we tend to hang out together. (Imagine that.)

We dedicated a bit of time complaining about how our furnace went out. This one is all computerized and the numeric codes don’t really tell us anything. She didn’t want to call someone over the weekend, because they gouge you. I’m okay with this, too. We’ve been using alternate sources to take the chill off and it has been decent weather as well.

We went to Old Chicago last night, masks and all, for beer and pizza. We also rented Monster Hunter with Milla Jovovich. (Don’t waste your time or money.)

What I didn’t do was write. I feel bad, because weekends are about all I have. I managed one page of dialog and that’s it. Dialog sections tend to have a lot of white space on the page, so there isn’t much as far as word count goes.

I am going to get an hour to myself today when she goes to town. Rather than force things, I’m going to spend my time reading.

I’ve run into a section in Lanternfish that requires some micro-plotting. You know I use storyboards with broad things I have to check off, but between the index cards, I occasionally run into something like this.

Normally, I would jump to another story, but I’ve finished Lunar Boogie, and am loath to start a new one until I finish Lanternfish. I know the next one up is Good Liniment and it will suck me in and keep me from Lanternfish.

What I need is a good solid twist in my story. Jumping projects usually makes one come to me. Perhaps reading will do the same thing. Next weekend isn’t looking like a good one for writing either. Hopefully, I can come up with my twist inside of two weeks.

Hope all of you are happy, productive, and warm.

33 Comments

Filed under Writing

Smorgasbord Posts from My Archives – Past Book Reviews 2020 – #Fantasy #Paranormal – Viral Blues by C.S. Boyack

Lizzie and the hat get a bit of love over at Sally’s place. Stop over and say, Hi. Surf around while you’re there. Sally is a super supporter and a great friend to make.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

I read some amazing books in 2020 and I would like to share them again with you, updated with the authors most recent releases and their biography.

Today I am sharing my review from May 2020 for Viral Blues (The Hat Book 2) by C.S. Boyack

About the book

Someone knows about the hat. The creature from another dimension that helps Lizzie fight against the creatures of darkness.

They are summoned to a cryptic meeting with a secret society, where they meet other people with enhanced skills. It turns out someone, or something, has been tampering with the world’s vaccine supply. The goal doesn’t appear to be political or financial, but biblical pestilence.

Can this group of loners come together in time to make a difference when even the proper authorities are obstacles?

Check out Viral Blues, for your dose of paranormal adventure, with a strong sample of dark…

View original post 506 more words

10 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Review of The Yak Guy Project

Author CS Boyack builds from the foundation an alternate reality where a man gets another chance to live life. The character development of the nameless man who would grow into Ted starts from the ground up when he awakes in pain. This man has a few vague memories of where he came from but no specifics.

My favorite character was the Yak. Not just an ordinary Yak you see on a wildlife show, but a talking Yak.  Continue reading here.

13 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized