Tag Archives: Amazon free book

If Die Hard is a Christmas movie, then…

There is a debate that rages every year across social media about whether Die Hard is a Christmas movie. It’s placed at Christmas time, and it seems to get shown around the holidays on various cable channels. I’m not entering the debate, but I enjoyed the film. There’s even one thread I saw about whether it’s a missing Harry Potter film, because Bruce Willis chases Professor Snape around a spooky building. (Not touching that one at all.)

I’m here in my usual corny style to make a different connection. If Die Hard is a Christmas movie, then The Playground is a Christmas book. This is one I wrote a few years ago, and I have a deal for you. I don’t usually run deals, but it’s the holidays, so why not?


The hottest new toys of the Christmas season are the Playground Network dolls. They contain a worldwide social network for children. Except the network is controlled by a ruthless businessman with dreams of power.

To reach his goals he turns to the occult. Will our children make up his personal army? Could we have an enemy soldier in every home?

Gina Greybill is a cancer survivor who stumbles into her own brush with the paranormal. She wants nothing to do with it, but may be the only one who can bring down the Playground Network. To do it she’ll have to embrace her new situation and recover the next generation of Playground software.

There is competition for the software in the form of a brutal thug named Clovis. He’s bigger, more ruthless, and more experienced. To top it all off, he has a head start.

The Playground is suitable for mature readers, due to violence and mature themes.

This one is written in the style of a Frank Miller comic, or a Tarantino film, in that three different stories orbit around the main event. They come together at the end to complete the picture.

Clovis and Gina, along with her sidekick, Gupta, make a return to my book world in Viral Blues that published this year. Clovis remains one of the most popular characters I ever came up with, and I got some nice feedback about his return. (Viral Blues is still linked in my sidebar if you’re of a mind to check it out.)

I set up a sequence of free days for The Playground, starting today. If you’re an early visitor, you may have to cycle back through, because I’m on Amazon time here. Pick up your free copy at this link: http://a-fwd.com/asin=B01D6EF6RI

Enjoy your free book, and since I know someone is going to ask, I count Die Hard as a Christmas movie. (Gremlins, too.)


Filed under Uncategorized

Try out a FREE anthology

I’m proud to be part of this anthology with a talented collection of authors. This time the theme is all about time travel, which is a science fiction standard. How could I not say yes?

I’d never tackled the subject before, and was a bit apprehensive. The publisher didn’t put any restrictions on me as far as travelling into the future or past. As long as time travel was the basis, I was left to my own devices.

I struggled with coming up with a cowboy story, but it just never came together for me. Then the Muse visited, and I changed directions. I hope you’ll enjoy Quantum Wanderlust, and I already have my copy.

The best part for you is this is a free collection. It is available everywhere, and this Universal Link will let you choose the vendor of your choice.

My story involved a lot of research, and I was at risk of becoming a victim of the Research Sirens. I have the dates right, the real people who appear in the story, specific locations, and even some of the research into the discovery.

Our book rankings depend upon a strange algorithm. My experience is that a cluster of downloads all at once will rank a book higher than the same number spread over a couple of weeks. I encourage you to pick up your copy right away, even if you wait for a snowy afternoon to read it. I already have mine.

Other things that help us are those sharing buttons at the bottom of this post. A few tweets and Facebook shares really mean a lot.

Of course, reviews matter too, and I would appreciate if you would leave one. This helps me garner more invitations to participate in future anthologies.

Now this wouldn’t be a C. S. Boyack project without some participation from my spokesmodel, Lisa Burton. Feel free to use Lisa’s poster as your telephone background or wherever you like. From Lisa’s poster, see if you can guess which story is mine.

Lisa Burton

Spring forward, fall back.

That reminds you of changing the clocks, right? When we talk about the passage of time, it’s usually in short bursts (seconds, minutes, hours) or slightly longer chunks (weeks, months, years).

What if it was limitless? What if you could go forward or back, in any size segment you wanted? Decades, centuries, eons? Would you go back and change your life? Go forward and see your future?

That’s the challenge thirteen writers faced.

Quantum Wanderlust is a time travel short story anthology. Characters travel forward and back—how far they go and how they get there make fascinating tales. Do they observe or interact? Is the outcome better or worse than the original timeline?

You’ve got to read the stories and see for yourself. The scope is virtually limitless, definitely timeless.


What if you had all the time in the world?


Thirteen authors answer that question with short stories about time travel. Go back in time to right a wrong, forward to see the future. No jump is too large, no method unfeasible, no lesson beyond learning.


  • Visit the past to learn a family secret.
  • See the formation of a future dictatorship.
  • Assume responsibility for weaving the fabric of time.
  • Travel back in time to WWII.
  • Use a family heirloom to solve problems.
  • Wear an inheritance to visit ancestors.
  • Leave a dystopian future for the hope of something better.
  • Make history come true in an unexpected way.
  • Fight evil fairies to protect a chosen angel.
  • Live with the childhood memory of visitors until the day they arrive.
  • Seek medical help for a memory issue and get way more than bargained for.
  • Discover that with great power comes great responsibility.
  • Uncover the secrets of a pharaoh’s tomb and curse.

Do the characters observe or interact? Is the outcome better or worse than the original timeline? Read these stories to learn how far they go, how they get there, and what happens when they return.

The scope is virtually limitless, definitely timeless.

Dang that is a good looking sphinx. One more time, in case you missed the Universal Purchase Link.


Filed under Writing

Assessing my big giveaway

Most of you know that Monday through Wednesday I held a big book giveaway. It was a lot of fun, and a lot of work at the same time. Each day required a blog post and a tweet or two. I wanted to stay on top of any comments I received as well.

I rate this event as a huge success. Many of you jumped in and shared the news on your own blogs and social media. The Rave Reviews Book Club also pitched in and many of the members retweeted and reblogged my data. They held another recruiting day at the same time, and I skipped out. I wanted my promotion to stay on top of my posts. As a small way of saying thanks, all writers should check this group out.

So what happened? I gave one title away per day. I ran a giveaway once before that lasted three days, and after day one it tapered off dramatically. I convinced myself to only run one day events from now on. I decided to make it last three days anyway, by running three titles.

The first book was Wild Concept. This is the same book that had the three day giveaway last spring. I managed to give out 41 copies. That’s pretty mediocre in my mind. Last time I moved over a hundred copies. Still, it managed to hit the top 100 in free science fiction. The highest number I saw was #86.

I have to explain that free days start and end at midnight Pacific Standard Time. I work for a living and get up at 4:00 AM, so I could not wait until 1:00 AM in my time zone to see how high any of them placed. This makes me kind of sad, and I think Amazon should send me an email or something.

The last book was Arson. This one fared pretty well, and hit the free science fiction chart at #52. It may have gone higher, but I’ll never know. I managed to pass out 95 copies.

I saved the best for last. Tuesday was the giveaway for Panama. The other stories are both science fiction, but Panama is a paranormal tale in an historical setting. for whatever reason, lightning struck on Tuesday. I managed to give away 364 copies of this book. There isn’t really a category for historical / paranormal stories, but I wish there was. Panama sat at number 5 on the free fantasy books right before I went to bed. With three hours to go, it may have climbed even higher. This excites me greatly. At the time I went to bed it was number 764 out of all books on Amazon combined.

Best thing about the event: For one shining moment, I was in the top five on one of the lists.

Four wonderful people purchased copies of Panama the day after the promotion. If anyone saw a higher number on the charts than what I saw, I’d love to hear about it. It was kind of fun seeing Panama with its five reviews between two books with hundreds of reviews. Does this entitle me to call myself a best selling author? Best giving author is more accurate.

The popular advice is that a giveaway will spur sales of other titles. The Cock of the South flatlined this week. Apparently, no one bought into my udder analogy. Still, it may take time for readers to finish the free reading. They could buy The Cock of the South months from now.

These are the numbers. It’s hard to draw any conclusions at this time, but it’s fun to think about. All I really know is that 494 pieces of my fiction are in the hands of people all over the world. Some people may have grabbed more than one title.

Will anyone even read the stories? I have no idea. Free things don’t have much value to people. I’m certain some will read them, and equally certain some will not. Did I just over saturate my market? Probably. As an unknown writer, getting readers is a big deal. If they like the product, they could become buyers one day.

Will I gain reviews? Did I just bait snarky reviews? I’ll just have to be patient. I could use some more positive reviews.

You can make numbers say anything you want. Maybe Tuesday is simply a better day to hold a giveaway. Maybe paranormal is more popular than science fiction. Maybe cowboys trump aliens and robots. Maybe shoppers are savvy to giveaways and know indie authors will hold one eventually.

What has your experience been with free promotions? I’d love to hear from you.


Filed under Writing

Last day, get ’em while they’re HOT

This is the last day of my three day giveaway. This time the book is called Arson. This is a return to science fiction and involves other planets and aliens. The expansion into space has caused a return to colonialism.

Perry Wolfe is a member of an elite team that fights fires in space. During a huge space liner fire, he receives a minor wound, but it is career ending. Rendered uninsurable, he can never be a firefighter again.

Perry enters the ATF firefighting school and gets shipped to a small moon called Quantico Two. His training facility is in the city of Glynco. He uncovers clues that link his sister’s murder to a string of arsons, but the FBI doesn’t welcome interference.

Perry can’t let go of being a firefighter. Maybe there is something else he needs in Glynco.


This story includes the most fun supporting character I’ve ever written. Curious?

This one has never been the subject of a giveaway or a countdown deal. This is the first promotion for Arson. It needs more reviews, and maybe I can gain a few from my giveaway. Here’s what my one review says:

“This SciFi thriller has plenty of action to keep your heart pumping. C.S. Boyack does a good job of pulling you into the story. I especially like the way he integrated alien species into the story as friends and co-workers. That aspect reminded me a bit of the Star Wars movies, but this story is much more sophisticated.”

Here’s the link one more time, if you want a free book: Arson.



Filed under Writing

Another adventure for Lisa Burton?

Today is the one day promotion for Wild Concept. This is the story of Lisa Burton, who also appears regularly in my blog. Lisa is a robot, for those new to her story.

Lisa is going to be getting a new adventure over at Karen O.’s blog. Karen has a cool story she’s been writing over at In a Small Compass, called The Neighbors. Here is a direct link.

I found out about it like this…

I got a text message from Lisa at the writing cabin. I was tied up with other business, and couldn’t get out there right away.

“Craig, I have to leave for a few days. Jim Burrell needs my help on one of his cases.”

“How long will you be gone, and where are you going?”

“I’ll be gone for a week. Okay, maybe as long as three weeks. Depends on how much work is down there.”

“Down where?”

“Whitelyn, Arizona. It’s just out of Las Vegas.”

“Are you flying? You might have trouble getting on an airplane.”

“Biking. The snow should let up once I reach central Nevada.”

“What about the writing cabin?”

“Iris is still here. She can help you.”

“She’s just a fairy. She can’t even lift the coffee pot.”

“I’ve got to ride. I’ll get someone to fill in. I should have internet until I reach the Great Basin. You’re a big boy. You’ll do fine. Love, Lisa.”


There are still a few hours of the free promotion for Wild Concept. If you want to know more about Lisa, this is a good chance to jump aboard.

Make sure to check out Karen’s story and leave your Gravitar. She’s well worth following too. I have no idea what Lisa is going to do here, so you can bet I’m reading along with everyone else.


Filed under Muse, Writing