And Otto goes berserk

I got through a couple of my projects, then we paid the bills and managed date night. We had a couple of errands along the way, one of which involved stopping at Pet Smart for dog food. Lo and behold, pumpkin balls are available once more.

Otto is bouncing off the walls with joy. Frankie doesn’t know what to think. She has only had tennis balls, and these don’t have fur.

Ever since he was a puppy, the pumpkin ball was his favorite toy. They have a squeaker inside and they flash when they bounce. Otto is a simple soul. It doesn’t take much to make him happy. Maybe I should take a lesson from him.

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Field trip and a bit of luck

My paycheck job sent me to Idaho Falls for a couple of days. We avoid work related topics, but it puts a damper on my blogging ability. That’s the main point here.

Fortunately for me, two of my guest appearances posted while I was absent. That allowed me to keep some fresh content on my site, and I managed to deal with comments after hours. I think I answered everyone, but I’m going to surf back through the host sites to make sure after this goes live.

I have things to do today. (I always have things to do.) I’ve just come up against a wall of “I don’t wanna.” A big part of this involves driving, hotels, and all the rest of it. Driving across Idaho is not like driving across Vermont. It takes about five hours to drive across Idaho, and I did it twice. Bonus though, I got to see about 200 antelope, and one really nice mule deer buck. I also saw an elk rack that did not fit completely in the bed of a pickup truck. I know we’re all supposed to hate hunting and everyone that partakes, but I do not. It was impressive, and that was one of the biggest racks I’ve ever seen. If the rest of him was that big, someone is going to need a bigger deep freeze.

I’m going to have to sacrifice most of my planned word count for now. The stuff I need to do involves commitments to other author friends. I’m not going to let them down. There is one small bit of critique work I have to get to. Thank God for my Apple Pencil, and its new ability to work with Pages, my word processor. This speeds things up a bunch over the old redline versions.

I have two Lisa Burton interviews to work on. One has returned his questionnaire, and I’ll address it soon. The other is in a holding pattern until I get the questionnaire back. Still, it’s good to know there will be more “broadcasts” from Lisa’s trailer in the woods.

Yesterday was payday too. This means we might pull off a date night tonight. Old Chicago Pizza sounds good, but there is a BSU game tonight. Both things are good, but sometimes it means the place is SRO. Never know if we don’t try. I can be content with the MLB playoffs too, so I’m not picky as to whatever. We’ve talked about a backup plan that might involve a total absence of sports.

As a State employee, I get Monday off too (Thanks Columbus). Lower on my list is a cluster of critique pages of my own work. They aren’t going to spoil or anything, but if I get my commitments dealt with, I’d like to find time to slick up my own story.

It isn’t a huge list, and all of it is possible in three days. I just have to figure out how to deal with the “don’t wannas.”

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#BadMoonRising: The Hat by C.S. Boyack #paranormal #superheros

It’s my turn on the Bad Moon Rising promo over at Teri Polen’s blog. Grab your paranormal hat, tune up your bass, and come on over.

Books and Such

Happy Friday!  This has been an incredibly busy week, but why don’t you take a few minutes to sit back and enjoy today’s Bad Moon Rising author.  If you’re not familiar with C.S. Boyack’s work, now’s the time to get acquainted.  He’s crafted some wildly imaginative stories, and today’s is one of my personal favorites.  He also might be the guy to hang with during a zombie apocalypse.  Read below to find out why.

Thanks for having me back this year, Teri. I always enjoy this event, and tried to send other authors your way.

In the Halloween spirit, I’m here to talk about my novella, The Hat.  This one is kind of a paranormal/superhero mashup, set to a blues and rockabilly soundtrack.

Lizzie St. Laurent is dealing with many of the struggles of young life. She lost her grandmother, and her living arrangements. Her new roommate abandoned her…

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Conversations With Colleen: Meet Author, C. S. Boyack

I’m appearing over at Colleen Chesebro’s place today. It’s October, so the topic is a bit of spooky reading. This is a newish interview slot for authors, so lets all support it so it will be around when we need some place to promote.

Colleen Chesebro ~ The Faery Whisperer

Conversations with ColleenThe October Edition

smileys-pumpkins-044068Hello everyone! Happy October!smileys-pumpkins-044068

I’m thrilled to bring you a speculative fiction author, C. S. (Craig) Boyack. I asked him to pick a few questions from my huge list HERE. We all aspire to be successful authors and the best way to learn some of the tricks of the trade is to ask questions. The answers might surprise you.

I think I’ve read almost all of Craig’s books. He is one of my favorite authors because there is always a great story wrapped up in his writing. My favorite book by Craig is called Panama. Check out the review HERE.

Please meet today’s guest, C. S. Boyack:

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Author, C. S. Boyack

I was born in a town called Elko, Nevada. I like to tell everyone I was born in a small town in the 1940s. I’m not quite that old, but Elko has always been a little…

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Macabre Macaroni

Lisa Burton

Our Secret Lives

All of us have things in our lives we never discuss. Despite the age of the selfie, we might go somewhere, or do something, we don’t want to be judged for. When it comes to dreams, the sky’s the limit.

We never really remember our dreams. Bits and pieces, of course, but that’s a side of life we never understand fully. What if some of our nocturnal activities were real? What if we just didn’t remember after we awoke? Studies of sleep walkers and others show this is possible too.

Then there is the case of Lauren. Thirty-one years old, left wing liberal, vegetarian. She’s been married to her wife Tina for the last five years, lives in a quiet little house with solar panels on the roof. Tina is an international flight attendant, complete with insurance and benefits. Lauren owns an old nursery. Together they make a comfortable living.

🌑🌒🌓🌔

Lauren parked her Prius under the carport and headed inside. She pulled her rubber boots off at the door. “Smells wonderful. Do you have time to eat before you go?”

Tina poked her head around the doorframe. “Not tonight. Thought you’d be home sooner. I’m off to Denver, Seattle, and Tokyo.”

“I got another offer from that developer, Steve Roper. I tossed it in the car to read when I got here, but couldn’t help myself. By the time I read it, traffic got ahead of me.” She walked into the kitchen.

Tina tucked one of the blonde dreadlocks behind Lauren’s ear and handed her a glass of wine. “There’s roasted eggplant and some parsnips in the oven. What’s he proposing this time?”

“It’s a lot of money, but I can’t sell Dad’s old nursery, I just can’t. Besides, luxury condos isn’t what this city needs. We need a place for the homeless. We need affordable housing. Even one of those tiny housing communities would help.”

“I know, right? Look, you’ll have to text me the rest. My Uber is here, and I really have to go.” Tina extended the handle on her bag and wheeled it toward the door. “I’ll be back in four days, and we can talk about it then. For now, I can text. Bye.”

Lauren carried her supper out to the back patio, along with the bottle of wine. It was a small yard, but lush with plant-life from the nursery. Birds trilled as the sun started down. She picked at the food, but abandoned it in favor of the wine.

🌑🌒🌓🌕

“I don’t know what the hell’s wrong with that woman,” Steve Roper said to the men at his country club. “I’m offering her more than the property’s worth, and I threw in a position as our landscaper; with benefits. I verbally offered her a small flower shop on the main floor too.”

“I don’t see how she can hold out much longer,” Everett Hosmer said. “As downtown grows, there are less customers for a small nursery. People won’t drive by perfectly good nurseries in the suburbs to visit her.”

“I know, but she seems to miss that point. I need her corner for the entrance to the whole project. We have our timing too, Everett. If Crandleburg breaks ground first, we’re going to be playing catch-up. I don’t want to deal with all those early-bird discounts and free upgrades. Donnie builds a good project, and I don’t want him beating us to the punch again.”

“Maybe you ought to have something to eat. She may come around by Monday. You’ve been drinking, and things might look better in the morning.”

“I intend to do a lot more drinking first, and I’m not hungry.” He walked behind the bar and grabbed a bottle of Talisker. “Put it on my tab. I’m going to walk the grounds and take in the night air. Tell Cici to take the car home, and I’ll find a ride later.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes. I really hate that nursery woman, and need to flush her out of my mind.” He headed out onto the golf course.

The call of an owl came from Driscoll Park. The country club bordered a huge state park with tall pines, camp sites, and volleyball courts. The far side of the park bordered a reservoir that drew people on the weekends. Steve occasionally saw deer on the back nine, and ambled that direction.

🌒🌓🌔🌕

Lauren was sound asleep on her lounge chair when the moon crept over the trees. The light in its full configuration landed on her like a spotlight. The transformation started as hair, beautiful silvery tipped fur covered her from head to toe. Her feet extended, and claws grew from her toes.

Her sinuses expanded and lengthened. Her ears migrated and took on canine shape. The smell of the birds that sung her to sleep filled her nostrils. She rolled off the lounge, spread her toes, and stretched with her butt in the air. Fangs glistened in the moonlight as she yawned.

She scratched behind her ear and took in the local scents. Once fully oriented, she trotted around the house and peered around the Prius. She ducked down, as she was nearly as tall as the car now. It was late, and the residential streets were empty.

She trotted off toward Driscoll Park. The lakeshore was empty now, but a few embers glowed where water-skiers had abandoned campfires. She went through the campgrounds, sniffing at tents. The hunger hadn’t landed yet, and she had other goals before hunting.

She loped off into the forest, and headed for the large stone outcrop. A lone howl reverberated through the trees. She wagged her tail and headed toward the sound.

He waited beside a gigantic ponderosa log that fell fifty years ago. He remained in the shadows, but the tips of his black fur stuck up in the moonlight. Nobody would have noticed him, but there was no fooling Lauren’s nose. He trotted down the hill toward her.

She wagged her tail, and rubbed her shoulder in a patch of wild sunflowers. Eventually turning onto her back and rolling in them. He sniffed her and wagged his tail. She licked his face. He smelled of whisky, but the alcohol had no effect on this form. He jumped playfully over the top of her, crouched and leaped again. She met him mid-jump, and they frolicked in the moonlight.

Once their meeting was over, they got down to business. There were homeless people below the dam, an up-scale event near the band shell in the city park. One of these would provide a nice meal, then they could lick each other clean and cuddle the night away. If those familiar hunting grounds failed them, the tenters weren’t going anywhere, even if they were too close to home. The lunar cycle would provide them with three nights of bliss, hunting, gorging, and mating.

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Cooking Something Up

“Welcome to October at the writing cabin, and I’m here in the kitchen with my robot assistant, Miss Lisa Burton. Today we’re baking up a batch of Macabre Macaroni.

“Now, I’ve already boiled up the pasta and put it in a colander to drain. Lisa, can you pass me the butter to grease our casserole dish?”

“Hang on, I’m still getting my costume on. It takes time to be a fashion plate you know?”

“What seems to be the holdup?”

“I’m trying to get these stitches right. Can you pass me the purple marker? They ought to bruise a bit around the edges.”

“I, um, I can’t find it. Is it one of the ones in your left hand?”

“Oh yeah. I didn’t think I’d used it already. It’s important to look scary for Halloween.”

“Yeah, um. Scary wasn’t my first thought here.”

“Well, I’m not finished yet either. Just go cook your stuff and I’ll join you in a minute.”

***

Lisa Burton

It’s October, and that means Macabre Macaroni. These are my name for bits of micro-fiction with a Halloween theme. I run this every year, and I hope you enjoy them. They’ll post every Tuesday this month. I look forward to hearing what everyone thinks.

Note: I posted Lisa’s poster at full size here. Some people collect them and this is the one to download. I’ll size it down for the weekly stories.

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Did it anyway…

Today, I started off calling my parents, like any other Sunday. They’re planning to visit in a couple of weeks, and that should be fun.

After that, I had decisions to make. I could start another complete reread of Lanternfish. I could read some fiction I’m sorely behind on. I could read a craft book I’ve been chipping away at.

I decided to work on my new WIP instead. I find editing to be mind numbing. It has to be done, but not as a kind of death march. It just needs to be finished before publication. I’m still about a month and a half out from having all my promotional artwork.

The first thing I did was to delete 1000 to 1500 words I already had written. Then I added 3500 new words. Beginnings are tough, and there are some boxes I need to check off. I’m much happier with this version. All the characters have been introduced, and both the big picture and a secondary problem are on the table.

Oddly enough for me, this is where I’m going to start my outline. This isn’t how I typically do things, but it feels right in this case. With everything I have going on during October, I may not add new words for several weeks. I have some work related travel, the visit from my parents, and more going on. I’m okay with that. It’s a workable starting point, and a bit of daydreaming time will improve the final product.

A bit of theory is that editing can fill in the corners I’m left with. I’m also good at reading on airplanes. My storyboard app goes everywhere I do, so I can add index cards or sticky notes as things occur to me.

I mentioned last night that I built a storyboard for a subsequent project. I really like having even partial storyboards prepared ahead of time. It cuts down on that problem of wondering what I’ll write next.

Baseball ended without a whimper today. My team really stunk up the second half, and gets to watch the playoffs from a beach somewhere. I’m watching some football right now, and hope they deliver a better season than my baseball team did.

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