Not according to plan

I had to leave work early on Thursday. It felt like an allergy issue, and there was a lot of smoke in the air, so it was certainly part of it.

I’ve had allergies all my life, but between Nevada and Idaho, they are different. In Nevada everything was about snot and sneezing. Up here it all seems to be about my eyes. I felt like someone was inside my head trying to push them out of my skull. It got so bad I couldn’t see my computer, and the headache that accompanied them was also a handicap.

I figured that’s all it was, until I got home and started shivering. It was only 100 degrees-plus outside, so there was a problem. I felt feverish until about two o’clock on Friday.

It could be that allergies weakened my resistance, and some bad juju snuck in. It’s all just theory though. Water seems to be the best medicine. More water = feeling better.

I try to avoid hydration, and I know that’s bad. I have an enlarged prostate to begin with, plus I get to enjoy a diuretic for high blood pressure. Combine that with lots of water and I may as well blog from the bathroom.

I dabbled with a Lisa Burton interview Friday night. New fiction didn’t get much effort.

Today was another matter. I managed some decent new fiction. My pirates sailed to the uncharted island to search for a specific man. They wandered in the wilderness for a bit, but eventually found him. He isn’t a very pleasant fellow. He’s hiding on this island on purpose.

It turns out the man doesn’t have what they are looking for, but… There could be another way to deal with the main story problem. They have to cut a deal here, and what can you give someone who has no use for gold? I could tell you, but I want to keep that part to myself.

I managed to weave in another monster who doesn’t appear on the page. Some of this is my attempt at world building. The wild places are truly wild in this story. However, there is another monster here who will make an appearance on the page. Maybe as soon as tomorrow. I designed him myself, and I can’t wait to see how it all works out.

Research and fudging are always interesting in fantasy and science fiction. We’re dealing with navigation issues now, and while I understand trigonometry, I haven’t exercised those muscles in decades.

Part of good fiction is bullshitting your way through these parts. Nobody wants to read about trigonometry. My job will be to make it sound painstaking, dangerous in the course of this story if it comes out wrong, give a bit of description, and forge ahead with results.

I also struggled how a man with a wooden leg would fare on a sandy beach. I kind of want this guy involved, so I decided the sand was wet packed enough that he could get around. Good thing there were no dunes just off the beach.

88,000 words and counting for those keeping score at home. I would kind of like to hit 100K on this one. All of my recent stuff has come in pretty short, and fantasy lends itself to more word count. I have a hunch my target won’t be a problem.

After they leave this island, there will be some experimentation, some fantasy mathematics, and we’re heading right into the big finale.

Now it’s time for more water. Does beer count as being mostly water?



Filed under Uncategorized

The Yak Guy Project, on #LisaBurtonRadio

Lisa Burton

Welcome all you lost wanderers, and those without purpose. You’ve found Lisa Burton Radio, the only show that brings you the characters from the books you love. Except for this week, that is.

This week you get me, talking about Craig’s book, The Yak Guy Project. I’ve run out of guests right now, and want to keep the slot open for everyone.

It’s okay though, I was there through the writing of this whole story. I can wing it enough to pull this off. As an example, see this poster.

It’s about this rotten kid, who leeches off his friends, and brings nothing to the table. At the beginning of the book he wakes up having been dumped in the desert. Guess people grew tired of his crap.

He gets rescued by a talking yak, but the whole thing is a setup. He’s been relocated to an alternate reality, and given a chance to start over. This means he has to learn some of the things he failed to learn the first time.

These lessons are pretty simple at their heart, but they aren’t easy. Many of them are a matter of life and death. More important are the lessons about understanding others.

Yak Guy has to learn all of this before he can be considered complete. He isn’t the center of the universe, and other people aren’t there to serve him.

Some of you might find it interesting that this story is based loosely around the Major Arcana of the Tarot. Understanding of this isn’t important to the story, but if you know something about the Tarot, you might enjoy spotting the characters and situations involved. As your first clue, Yak Guy is The Fool.

This book has been on kind of a slow burn, it sells, but slowly. Reviews are coming in, but slowly. Some books seem to do this, and there is no rhyme or reason to which one it will be. Maybe Craig released it too close to summer.

I have two issues for all of you today. First is to consider checking out The Yak Guy Project, because this is what we do on Lisa Burton Radio. I’m not going to add fancy links and cover art, because this broadcast will post to Craig’s blog after I go off the air. All you have to do is visit the sidebar and click on the cover art there.

My second pitch is for more guests. These interviews seem to be a feast or famine kind of deal. We either have too many guests to cover them all in a reasonable time, or not enough to keep the line moving. Some authors get tired of waiting and drop out. Usually this is after we’ve done all the work to get their interview ready.

This spot is for you to promote your wares. It’s been productive, because some of you dropped me lines and told me you moved copies on the day of the post. Some authors are sharing their interview on social media a year after we conducted it. You get out of it, what you put into it.

Drop me a line. Would one of your characters like to have an interview by the most awesome robot girl with her own radio show? Could your book use a bit of free promotion?


Filed under Lisa Burton Radio

Did not expect that

I try to update every Wednesday, just so the world doesn’t forget about me. I know it’s Tuesday, but I discovered something tonight. If you need your Wednesday fix, I’ll be up over at Story Empire tomorrow.

One of my things is to cruise through Pinterest every night. My boards are all story related. I have some related to projects, some for characters, some in genre fiction that fits my style

I have one I call “girl art.” These help with characters, descriptions, outfits, etc. I save things there I might want to use for Lisa Burton outfits and more. Let’s face it, as a guy, I need a reference for outfits, hair, and such.

I did not think Pinterest allowed nudity, but I was wrong. Today my feed was full of nude women. You know the kind, lots of Photoshop and airbrush.

I must have pinned something for Lisa, and Pinterest thought “more like this” meant nudes. (Note: Lisa will never appear nude.)

I was so offended I stopped looking after a couple of hours. 🤪

Honestly, what I need are more old weathered faces. I pinned a few, but they don’t come up regularly. Some of them are so interesting, and would make great characters. I added a brief conversation with an old woman to my current project, and I mentioned her thickened eyelids, but I want a bit more. I need more of those old dry mudflat faces. I’ll have to revisit that scene in the editing phase now.

I pondered about a book of short stories a year ago, and they were all introduced by this ancient woman from the rocker on her front porch. I may revisit it one day, but it’s still in the idea phase. Think of this wizened elder serving in a Rod Serling capacity. Maybe add a corncob pipe, etc.

Maybe I’ll have to do a specific search for the kind of faces I’m looking for. Normally, pinning a few will keep them coming, but I may have to dive deeper on these.

My work week, and my weekend are looking like no new fiction will happen. I’m going to shoot for preparing a Lisa Burton Radio interview, and that might be my limit this week.


Filed under Uncategorized

Life takes precedence

I never even opened my manuscript today. Not one new word, or bit of editing. My wife and I were both off and decided to dedicate ourselves to other things, like each other.

The day started off with peach waffles.

Fresh from the backyard, these were awesome. There is a waffle in a baggie, and a few more spoonfuls of peaches in the refrigerator. I might do this again tomorrow.

It’s getting to where finding a good peach on the tree is a challenge. The birds are having a field day back there right now. There are probably about ten bushel baskets left on the tree. It grows enough for all of us, and I’m about finished with peaches for this year.

We had to get my wife’s car serviced today, so we spent an hour at the dealership. Service is free there, and free is important to us right now.

After that, we went to Old Chicago for pizza, and I had beer. There were a few stops on the way home to get Otto a new ball, and my wife some lemon cucumbers.

I pulled an odd stunt today. My out and about glasses are bifocals, and they darken in the sun. I elected to leave them home in favor of the progressives. All the material says you have to wear the progressives, or you’re never going to get used to them.

I would have liked to have the shades, but I’m determined to get used to these odd lenses. It’s working out really well. They have a distance correction, and that’s very clear. So far so good.

Drinking a couple of heavy dark beers, then heading out to 100 degree bright sunlight, was pretty strange. The peripheral vision on these things is dismal at best. Everything moves in an unreal fashion off to the sides. I may, or may not have said something to my wife about how her jelly was jiggling.

Honestly, I’m getting along well with the progressives, but there is a reason I have the other glasses too.

It’s looking like new fiction over the coming weekend is on thin ice. I only have two days this time, and we’re both off together. This story has no deadlines, so I’m not going to let it bother me.


Filed under Uncategorized

Fair enough, I’ll take it

The dogs drove me nuts last night. I pulled some light clothes on and went to sleep on the couch. Something about scratchy Frankie paws on my neck, and about 60 pounds of Otto on my leg wasn’t working for me.

Old What’s Her Face got me up when she went to work at 3:00 AM. She suggested I try again, since she wouldn’t be in the bed at the same time. I was in a pouty mood and intended to just get up and get started, but I gave it the old college try.

I still had to nudge Otto off of me, but managed to sleep until 6:00.

I spent the first two hours puttering on things. This is my normal process, but I dragged my feet, because I call my parents at 8:00.

After the phone call, I decided to give it a try. I wound up making some decent progress. It feels like 1500 to 1800 words. Not bad at all for a Sunday. This was a transition phase, and those are slower to write.

My pirates sailed to the uncharted island, and are now prepared to go ashore. I put some effort into approaching the island through a thick fog, and the dangers that might present. There was a shipwreck, some big lizards that we’ve seen before, and something I called a black shark from out of the blue.

I expect this island to take up some time in the story. There are several things that have to happen. I’m debating making it a place that is in constant fog, and letting my pirates see bits and pieces of it. To my mind, it keeps it kind of mysterious, and will let readers know this is a big world.

There are people here, and there will be monsters. I stopped when I did so I could daydream about some of it with more specificity than before.

For those who are keeping score, I’m at 81,600 words. I’d like to hit 100K, and it feels like I can. That’s long for me, but this is an epic fantasy. It may not be formal fantasy, it’s a kind of flintlock fantasy, but fantasy just the same.

I picked yet another basket of peaches this afternoon. Peach waffles tomorrow morning for sure.

I’m off tomorrow, but so is my wife. This usually isn’t the sign for a good writing day, but we’re going to have a date lunch out of the deal. We ought to be able to get in to Old Chicago and have pizza without the long lines and waits.


Filed under Writing

Personal hygiene over word count

It was one of those days. My daughter entered cosmetology school years ago, and since that time, I’ve paid her to cut my hair. I was her first, and last, supporter in this endeavor.

She never did take out her license, and her interests changed. She’s been working at airports since school, and recently moved back to Sun Valley. This is a good move for her, and came with a considerable raise.

I haven’t gotten my hair cut for about two months. It was looking pretty awful, and my hair grows pretty fast. She made arrangements to pick up some of her stuff this weekend, so we figured to do a haircut then.

Once again, this didn’t work out, and we had a little chat. Her life has changed, but I still need to take care of myself at some point too. I don’t mind waiting a week, but can’t hold out any longer. With her living in Sun Valley, this is the end of an era.

One of her instructors is now cutting hair, and the lady is really good. I went there today.

This cut into my writing time, and my word count was limited. It’s somewhere in the neighborhood of 500 words today.

My pirates gathered news of the war, made an alliance, and set sail for an uncharted island. Not much, but what do you expect for 500 words?

I spent the afternoon watching television. I know this is a terrible waste of time, but there you have it. I started with Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, followed that up with Dante’s Peak, and am now watching Young Frankenstein. Okay, maybe it wasn’t a waste of time.

I’m getting used to my progressive lenses. I hated them yesterday, but we’re starting to get along better. My big issue is the narrow field of clear vision. I love the idea of being able to raise or lower my head to get perfect vision. I don’t like having to move my head from side to side to read a simple blog post. Like I said, it’s getting more familiar.

Tomorrow is the day I call my parents, so writing time might be limited again. You never know, sometimes it works well. There is a lot that has to happen on this island, including another monster encounter. There are actually two, but only one will be an encounter.

My flex day is Monday, but my wife is off too. It’s up in the air, but we may bag everything and try to get a mid-day date night out of the deal. That has some value beyond simple word count too.


Filed under Uncategorized

Quest of the Brokenhearted, on #LisaBurtonRadio

Lisa Burton

Welcome all you disillusioned, disenfranchised, and faithless warriors. If you’ve ever suffered loss, you may be able to relate to my special guest, Kira Grasdon. “Welcome to the show, Kira.”

“Thank you for having me. It’s kind of surreal being here after hearing so much about the experience.”

“My bio says you were a successful business woman. What can you tell us about the Grasdon Merchant House?”

“To be fair, I wasn’t as successful as people think. My father built up the family business and made it an international trading power. We dealt in goods from every continent, which not many merchants could claim. My brothers and I were the successors, but I was the only one left after we were targeted by my fiancée’s enemies. That left me in charge and I didn’t do half bad considering everything else. Being trained as a warrior and more traveled than most of the prissy nobles, I was able to be more hands-on. I enjoyed going on the shipping voyages a lot because it meant less time traversing the desert. Be nice to get back to that life, but I don’t think I’d fit in there anymore.”

“Sounds like a pretty cush deal to me, but at some point you got to feeling adventurous. Where did that lead you?”

“All of that came from Luke Callindor who is one of the great heroes of Windemere. He was a foolish forest tracker that lied his way into an adventure at Hamilton Military Academy when I met him. I never had much ambition beyond taking over the family business, but he had this drive and wanderlust that . . . Well . . . You tend to adopt some of the traits of the person you love. I trained to be a better warrior, so I could join him in his adventures even though he was following a destiny. Last thing I wanted was to become dead weight and I would like to think I succeeded. I didn’t get to do a lot with Luke and our friends, but I did enough. Even got myself involved in the big battle against Baron Kernaghan, which is not a place you would expect to find the spoiled daughter of a famous merchant.”

“So hanging out with that crowd, you probably picked up some skills along the way.”

“Most of my training was done on my own while the champions continued following their destiny. I made sure to be stronger and better than the last time we met. I did learn a few things from Luke like remaining fluid in battle. People might say I was only staring at him because he practices without a shirt, but I was studying his moves. I mean, we were engaged, so I’ve seen him in less. Anyway, I use a kusari-gama, which is a chain and sickle commonly found in Bor’daruk. Being about to almost dance while fighting works amazingly well for this weapon.

“Another skill I picked up is planning ahead, which is something I already knew for business deals. This might be more of a transference if you think about it. I’d like to thank Luke for this, but it was really Sari. We were rivals for Luke and I may have gotten a little too aggressive at some points. I purchased gear and some heat elemental blood to counter her ice and water powers. If things went differently then it would have been a really nasty fight and one of us could have been killed. Thankfully, I caught up to her at a time where she wasn’t exactly at her best and I had to waste everything to help her. Come to think of it, I don’t seem to do much planning ahead these days. Just barrel right in and whatever happens is the hand I’ve been dealt.”

“Sounds kind of reckless to me. There’s something to be said about planning.”

“By the time the champions challenged Baron Kernaghan, Luke was the only family I had left. We weren’t married, but we had started making plans. I dreamed of the day we were husband and wife even on the morning of that battle. Then . . . he disappeared in the aftermath. He made one last mistake and got taken from me. All of Windemere thinks Luke Callindor died of his injuries, which were severe. I know he’s out there somewhere and his supposed friends know it too. He may have been badly hurt, but he’s come back from worse. Yet, all those who called themselves his friends believe he died and wouldn’t support the only loved one he left behind.”

“But you think Luke’s alive somewhere. Have you looked for him?”

“I tried to find him, but nothing worked. I bought every scrying tool that I could find and hired every seer that came by. I don’t know why it didn’t work. He’s out there somewhere. Maybe he’s protected by a relic or a spell that shields him from scrying. It would have to be very powerful like made by a god or . . . It doesn’t matter.

“My business partners got fed up pretty quickly because I developed a negative reputation. It was said that I went mad with grief, which isn’t entirely true. I was hurt and grieving, but I wasn’t insane. Still, I wasted enough money and ignored the business enough for my partners to push me out. Everything my family created was gone, including the manor and wealth that was claimed as company property. I had nobody left and ended up on the streets of Gaia, which meant my search for Luke had to stop.”

“So without your business obligations, what have you been doing?”

“Not what one would expect from a former member of the noble class. I was starving and sick, with nowhere to live. Lady Dawnlove found me and took me in. She’s the Madam of a brothel, which is a legal and regulated business in Gaia. I’ve lived and worked there for the last year.”

“No, really? I mean that red stripe is probably attractive to a lot of guys, but you can do better than that.”

“What? No, I could never do that. I really don’t like being touched that way since it reminds me of Luke. Nobody wants to sleep with a woman who cries from a hug. I run errands during the day like picking up food and clothes for the others. At night, I tend the bar and take orders for the kitchen. If there’s any trouble, I handle it. My warrior training comes in handy when someone becomes trouble. They never expect someone built like me to be a threat, which is why I’ve never lost a brawl. Well, the kusari-gama and its strength enhancer helps.”

“Whew. So when payday rolled around, did you keep looking for Luke?”

“I don’t know where I would start with that. I would never be able to afford anything that could pierce whatever is hiding him. So, I just found something else to do. I was told that Lacarsis is on the move and Lady Dawnlove was saying that I need to move on because I’m meant to be more than a brothel girl. Going into a city full of monsters that nobody has ever come out of alive doesn’t sound like a bad idea. Either I’ll find a new purpose in life or I’ll die. Both scenarios work for me.”

“Do you have a team?”

“I went in alone because I don’t know anybody worth taking. I made some friends inside Lacarsis though. Sort of. There’s Roland Gauntlier who attended Hamilton Military Academy with me. Seems he got scared and begged for his life, so the demon in charge kept him as a handyman. He can’t do much for me because he has to stay neutral, but it’s nice to talk to another human. Roland introduced me to Hyde the crafter gremlin. That’s not really a friendship though. He makes magical gear for me while I fight the monster champions. I don’t really understand why he’s sided with an adventurer, but I get the feeling that he doesn’t like the Shadow Earl.

“Then there’s Rayne. Where to even start with her? Apparently, the Shadow Earl’s game involves giving each adventurer who survives the first test an attendant. I was given this elf who can’t be older than sixteen and apparently grew up in Lacarsis. Her parents abandoned her or something, so she’s been raised by monsters. Rayne is sweet and helpful at times, but she’s so quick to accept punishment even if I’m not angry. The Gooie Pig that follows her around is a pain too. It’s this slimy pig that eats everything and makes a mess of the sheets. Still, having her as an attendant beats being stuck with a savage beast that will probably attack me in my sleep. I thought Rayne might be that at first, but you really can’t fake the level of . . . I don’t know how to explain her. Kind of creeps me out at times with the way she suggests punishments and apologizes without reason.”

“So is this like sneaking around and looking for Walkers?”

“Not sure what a Walker is, but I did think it would be sneaking and fighting throughout a monster-infested city. Turns out the Shadow Earl gets bored and uses all adventurers who enter his city as competitors in this tournament. I haven’t figured out the rules, but we’re randomly called to fight these champions. These would be monsters instead of the human ones that fought Baron Kernaghan, which confused me at first. Anyway, we get summoned to an area to fight and it’s shown to the populace. That or we’re jumped in public, but that might just be me because I’ve gained the Shadow Earl’s attention. He thinks I’ll be the first to earn a right to face him in combat, which is something that hasn’t happened in centuries. Like I said before, if it happens then I’ll do it.”

“So the prize for winning all those fights is to get into another fight? Maybe you should have entered a drinking contest or something.”

“Not much into drinking these days since it makes me moody. I don’t really mind the fighting because I lose myself in the violence. Just pushing to survive and seeing if the next move will be the one that gets me killed. Since I don’t care if I live or die, I dive right in and follow my instincts. Do I care if I face the Shadow Earl? Not really, but I won’t back down. Luke never did and I refuse to be weak. Maybe winning this thing will make me strong enough to travel the world in search of him or there could be a monster that’s run into him. I mean, it’s more likely that I’ll die since lifelong adventurers have been killed here and I’m only a former merchant playing hero. At least, the pain would go away if I die.”

“Should I put twenty bucks on you? Do you have any closing remarks for our listeners?”

“Best not to bet on someone whose apathetic to their own fate. I mean, it does seem to give me a suicidal edge as a few people have pointed out. The monsters aren’t used to someone being this aggressive, so I might get further than I expected. People should check this out and see how things turn out. I’ve been told my fighting style is very entertaining due to the high amount of action and destruction. Somebody once said they’re like what you see in movies, but I don’t know what those are.”

“You can read all about Kira and the City of Lacarsis in the book Quest of the Brokenhearted, by Charles E. Yallowitz. I’ll post all the purchase links and stuff after I go off the air today.

“Charles is a super supporter of this show, and may have reblogged every show I’ve ever broadcast. Today is your turn to give him a little of that support back. Pick up the book, leave a review, use those sharing buttons. Charles has done it for you, and you’d want people to do the same when your character appears on the next, Lisa Burton Radio.”


From the pages of ‘Legends of Windemere’

As Windemere moves forward, a broken spirit falls into the shadows.

Two years have passed since Luke Callindor was lost during the champions’ battle against Baron Kernaghan. Many mourn the loss, but none have been hurt more than the fiancée he left behind, Kira Grasdon. Plagued by grief and determined to prove he is alive, she has sacrificed her business, her reputation, and her hope. Surviving on the streets of Gaia, she has become an emotional husk of her former self. It is only by chance that Kira crosses paths with an old friend and learns of a path, which will either end her suffering or revive her shattered soul. As the rumors state, hundreds of adventurers have flocked to Lacarsis and none have returned.

Will Kira meet her death in the City of Evil or will she thrive among the monsters?


Quest of the Brokenhearted link-

Social Media Links-

Twitter: @cyallowitz
Facebook: Charles Yallowitz



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.


Filed under Lisa Burton Radio