Tag Archives: artwork

Date night, kind of

Friday was my only writing day. I went through the Serang MS with the intention of deleting a chapter. I know we’re supposed to kill our darlings, but in this I failed. I deleted 10 words.

Part of this has to do with setting up some tragedies that wouldn’t be as tragic if treated as backstory. While Serang is a character from Lanternfish, her story does not have the comedic undertones that Lanternfish has. She is a serious character in that book, and her origin story is serious too.

Who knows how it will be received? I never do.

After I finished that project there was no time left for new words. Old What’s Her Face is off Saturday and Sunday, so that might be it for writing this weekend.

I may rough out some cover ideas tomorrow in anticipation of hiring Sean Harrington to start my artwork.

Speaking of Sean, he made me some cool pointers. I have a whole collection of them. Mine are more monstrous than the typical fingers you can find on Pixabay. Their purpose is to give direction on my blog.

It works like this. My sidebar has linked covers to my two most recent titles. By clicking on the covers you can grab a copy of The Yak Guy Project, or Voyage of the Lanternfish. I recently shared three wonderful reviews of Lanternfish, and I have the intention of writing more adventures for the crew.

You can also find a slideshow featuring all of my covers. There is a link to my Amazon page if you’d like to check out the older titles. There’s going to be another story for Lizzie and the hat. You might want to jump on board with The Hat about now too. I’m thinking of holding it until October. It will fit the Halloween theme pretty well.

I had a gift card to Old Chicago Pizza, so we decided to go there tonight. It was kind of disappointing this time. Our server didn’t know anything, and simply told me they were out of every beer I wanted to order. Finally, I told her the guy at the table across from me just received the beer I tried to order. Lo & behold, they did have it and she brought me a pint.

The pizza was off tonight too. It’s almost like there was old dough in the freezer or something. We’ll still go there, but we’re chocking it up to a bad night. Didn’t recognize a single person working there, and we go there a lot.

After that, we went to check out the new Albertsons on Fairview. This is their version of competing with Whole Foods. They have over two acres under one roof. They have some cool stuff, like jackfruit and a million kinds of salami. It’s one of those places where you would make impulse purchases. With lines about a quarter mile long at the checkout stand, my impulses didn’t happen. Maybe we’ll go back in a couple of weeks when the newness wears off.

As for writing, well… I have Wednesday off. I have one chore to take care of though. I have to go to town to get my truck sniff tested. The test doesn’t take long, but the travel back and forth does.

I think I could have accomplished more, but this cold is lingering. I’m still phlegmy and coughing. I feel a lot better, but I still missed one day at work last week. This thing can’t go away fast enough to suit me. It makes my mind foggy, and that isn’t good for writing new words.

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My last hat stand

Some of you might remember me taking delivery of two cool hat stands about a month ago. The third one arrived last night. This one has a cross bone that is kind of cool. Here they are all together.

They are hat stands after all, so this is what they look like after I put them to work. I found the bone to be a great place for one of my bandanas.

Some hats I wear, some are just for looking at. The one on the left is a cool witch’s hat, but I tipped them all back so you could see the stands. I have a theory there is an awesome pirate hat in my future that would look great on one of these. And Captain Jack’s is just the place to acquire such a thing. If you’d like a cool hat stand, or a pirate hat checkout Captain Jack’s and ask for Jeff MacKay. Tell him I said hello.

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Some success

Yesterday I tackled the Lisa Burton interviews. I have twenty-five applicants, but only nine who've delivered the questionnaire answers. (Oops, ten now.) I worked up six shticks and sent them out. This took me six hours. I'd like to have completed them all up to the minute, but I have to face some facts.

Six hours is an effort on my days off. It will take me twenty-five weeks to post them all, so I'm ahead of the game. I hope nobody gets disappointed, but I can only do so much. It adds up to a considerable word count too.

I used part of today to work my time travel story up to 2500 words. This one is taking me way too long, and I'm feeling some pressure. Truth is, I never intended to write a time travel story. I like a challenge, so we'll see how it comes out. Writing to a theme and a target is kind of new, but fun. My MO is to get it done with enough time to make requested changes. I may only have a week of padding, but it will be enough.

I got the final Lisa poster for The Yak Guy Project, then did something crazy. I thought it might be cool to have a Lisa poster to promote the anthology with. The other authors can do what they want, but I'm going to have some artwork to promote with.

My time travel story spent a couple of months in the daydreaming phase as a Western. It didn't come out that way, and I hope it intrigues a few readers. Sorry, no cowgirl Lisa, at least for now. You might like what I changed it to.

This story is taking some serious research too. I'll bend some facts, but I want to have the rest of the details right so my changes don't stand out. Things like train times, actual hotels, and more help sell the twists.

While I was at it, I decided to order enough art to get me through the end of the year. These will be mostly for holidays wishes, but one is for my Macabre Macaroni short stories. (God, I still have to write those too.) The deadlines are spread way out, so Sean can take his time.

We had a quick date night last night, since my wife won't be here. Just a quick dinner and a beer. I had scallops with squid ink pasta… in Idaho, just imagine. It was wonderful too.

My wife headed for Nevada this morning, but not so early as to allow me to get some major work done. I dabbled and had some moderate success. I got a proof back from the formatter for The Enhanced League, and there are a few minor adjustments to make.

For the rest of this vacation, I would like to finish my short story, write three more promotional pieces for The Enhanced League, and schedule next week's Lisa Burton Radio. I might chuck some of it and publish The Enhanced League instead. No, it isn't too much, I might be able to do it all with a little bit of luck.

I don't think I'll add any more than that. The interview is all done and awaiting a link. I have ideas for the promo stuff, and I'm 2500 words shy of a short story draft. Two days is a nice pace without killing myself over it. If Enhanced League gets out next weekend, that's fine too.

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Working a different direction

I took an actual vacation day today. I've done this for writing purposes before, but not this time. This time, I wanted to fulfil some reading commitments. I've been reading one book for far to long, and wanted to finish. I also promised a friend a beta read by March. I always try to meet my deadlines, and needed to clear my slate so I could start on the new book.

I got that much done today. I have a clear deck now, but did not start the new reading. I also have 2.5 Lisa Burton Radio spots to get started on, and will probably address those tomorrow. This is the life of a modern day author.

I also worked on some blog art for my next Story Empire post. With the new group members, I'm not up again until late February, but it's still something I needed to accomplish. My Apple Pencil needed charging, so I goofed on social media while I waited.

I need to think up something for my February banner, but nothing is clicking there. I have time, and something will probably come to me. February is just a boring month. Maybe I'll make something that has nothing to do with February.

Writing takes a back seat, but reading is good exercise for a writer. In that spirit, it wasn't unproductive at all. Promotion must be done, and I'm tricking myself into thinking the radio spots are branding for me, even though the posts are about the guest authors.

I'll probably pick up my critiques and work on those to fill in the corners. Maybe I'll change my pinned tweet again. It's been a couple weeks since I changed it, and it's time.

Tonight we're going for pizza and beer. A guy can only do so much of this stuff in one stretch. Maybe the elixir of creativity will give me an idea for my next banner art.

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Forward Momentum and Planning

I walked into the front office at the writing cabin and spread the artwork across Lisa’s desk. “What do you think?”

image

“Ooh, I like it,” Lisa said. “It has some similarities to the first Notebook, but it stands out as its own book too. What’s your plan now?”

“I’m out with beta readers right now. I already got one full read, and some great catches. One of them involved names, and you missed it too.”

“My spellchecker must have seen it as a real name.”

“It is, so I changed the name completely to make it simpler.”

“When the betas are finished will you publish it then?

“Not quite. While they’re working, we have some stuff to do ourselves. You need some promotional artwork.” I spread a list of story titles in front of her.

Lisa sifted through the titles, and pointed. “This one, for sure.”

“Last Flight of the Rocket-Men? I figured that would catch your eye. You love the rocket-pack. Do you suppose it should be Rocket-Men, or Rocketmen?”

“You could ask your blog friends.”

“Good idea, we need one more. Make a star next to that one.”

“A star, really? I’ll make an electronic list and use a cute emoji. It’s the twenty-first century, you know.”

“Fine.”

“I’m not feeling some of these. There isn’t much chance for me to be fun in a poster.”

“How about Jason Fogg? It could be like a romance cover with you in the shower, and fog swirling all around. He could be kind of visible, but kind of not at the same time.”

“Veto.”

“What do you mean, veto? I’m the boss.”

“I’m not doing it.”

“I would never let you be completely nude. You know that right. Most of those book covers show a shoulder or something.”

“It isn’t that. I’m not shy or anything.”

“Okay, so why not?”

Lisa Burton

“Jason Fogg creeps me the hell out, that’s why.”

“Is it his addiction?”

“If you want to call it that.”

“He’s trying really hard to get over it.”

“I don’t think I’ll ever have confidence in him. What else do you have?”

“Not all of these will work, but that’s always the case. Parade Wave, Magpies, Practical Geology. I’m not feeling it.”

“What about Fever, or Career Move? Or Angel, I would make a great angel. I still have my Victoria’s Secret wings.”

“That’s a good reason why not. Everyone’s seen the wings already. Questing might be a good one too. Maybe you could be like a scream queen prisoner.

“That could be kind of fun. We could have done Night Bump Radio, but I borrowed the idea already.”

“I need to think about it some more. Meanwhile; why don’t you get Sean Harrington on the line and see if he has a few ideas.”

“I’m on it.”

***

Okay, so I have cover art, and it looks pretty darned good. I need to get Lisa situated, but we’ll figure something out. Question for you authors out there, do you prefer Rocket-Men, or Rocketmen?

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Chipping away at things

I allowed myself to sleep in this morning. I think I could have lasted another hour, except for my wild alarm clock. There was a duck quacking right outside my window. It's kind of funny when you think about it. I still got to sleep in, but it is what it is. What do you think possessed him to come in my yard and act like that? I expect this out of the tiny birds, but waterfowl should be better behaved.

When I got up, my daughter was already downstairs. Saturday is usually my best writing day, but this Saturday was going to have to be a compromise.

I managed to get my wallpaper changed for May. It is a little bit cramped on my iPad, but it looks great on the Mac. I'm going to assume it looks great on PCs and laptops. I'm sure it never looks good on phones, but I can't help that.

I assembled next week's Lisa Burton Radio post, and it promises to be a fun one. I also spent some time working on future posts in this arena, and it looks like I'll be able to keep it going for a while.

I checked my sales page, and it looks like a few more sales recently, and a few pages read. The sales are mostly due to the Wild Concept sale, but there are a few Experimental Notebooks, and Playgrounds mixed in. The pages read are mostly The Playground.

I received a couple of invitations, and need to ponder them. I love challenging assignments, so I'll have to see what I can come up with here. I have about a third of one in mind, and maybe my Muse will show up and inspire me for the rest.

I found a great new 5 star review for Experimental Notebook. The reviewer said, “Mr. Boyack must be a strange man. I like the way he thinks.”

You know, I probably am a strange man, because this quote gives me great pleasure. I've been cracking up about it since last night. Besides that, 5 stars is awesome! Reviews have been really hard to get lately, so I'm thrilled.

I played around a bit more with my art app. I'm getting a big kick out of messing with the blog banner. I have a bunch of ideas, but not a lot of talent. We'll all find out together if I can pull it off.

I spent some time surfing around for stuff to use in Lisa's artwork. It seems like I have more ideas than money to get the art made. This round is so I can stockpile stuff to use on the blog, Facebook, etc. I have other ideas for specific book promotions. I consider this to be research, but it isn't totally unpleasant. There are a lot of retro pinup models online these days. It kind of makes me want another antique car. I used to have one I took to car shows in the last century.

Other than that, I haven't been very productive. The new issue of Heavy Metal arrived the other day, but I haven't taken the wrapper off yet. My wife wants to take me for beer and pizza tonight, so that's good. I know it's her plan to trick me into shopping for shirts at the mall. I need some new short sleeve shirts, and beer is always good. I'm going to go along with her nefarious plan, and not tell her I'm onto her.

Hope you guys are having a great weekend.

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Feels like old times again #amwriting

I raced through social media early this morning. I wanted to force myself to take up the keyboard once more.

This led to +/- 2000 new words on The Yak Guy project. Ted, the yak guy, finally gets to be with the girl of his dreams. I have a hard time writing these scenes, but I think it came out okay. (I’m one of those males who never got a lot of female attention. Therefore, I’ll just make it up.) The story is from Ted’s point of view, so it might not be as romantic as if it were from the woman’s viewpoint.

Next on the list, Ted has to second guess the whole thing, and wonder what it all means. Then he gets to meet her dad and get the crap beat out of him. By modern standards, I ought to have him getting beat up pretty fast. I kind of want to have him question everything though. This is a conundrum for me. My plan is to write it my way, and see if it needs to be eliminated later on.

I got two requests for a review copy of The Playground, and sent both of them out. (Booyah) I hope the reviewers enjoy it. It’s a little more gritty than my usual fare. Maybe the contrast between The Playground and yak guy’s love scene is causing a short in my brain.

I got asked why I didn’t set up the 99¢ sale for Wild Concept in the UK store. It’s because I didn’t know I had to. I thought it happened everywhere. Turns out those are the only markets available to hold a sale. If you’re completely out of those markets, let me know and I’ll find a way to fix you up. Does this mean I need to start using these things £ or €? Look, it’s a man in a top hat with a big mustache =):€

The sale starts in the UK sometime on the 28th. Then I returned to WhatsApp and let them know. There isn’t much point if I don’t say something about it. Thus, the mention here too.

I sent out another Lisa Burton Radio kit, and finalized another post for one of those spots. I have several partial posts out in cyber space, tomorrow’s is pre-scheduled, and another one nearly final. I’m feeling pretty good about this spot today. We have some fun characters coming up.

Then I got a cool request to write a guest post about how I started writing short stories. This one made me think, because it just kind of happened. I love it when someone asks a question that makes me assess something. I wrote about 800-900 words of blog post and sent it out too.

Finally, I picked up my art app and messed around with my banner some more. I’m really not an artist, but I can cut out and paste things. If it looks cheesy, I’m okay with that. I’m all about the cheese here at Entertaining Stories.

I love it when I have a productive day, and wish there were more like this one.

I should probably return to social media and promote the Wild Concept Sale, and The Playground. I feel like such a book whore, but I don’t see any other way to get the word out. I’ll probably address some of that this afternoon. I found a new place to do paid promotion, but I have to make my own artwork. It’s also kind of complicated to set up. I’ve been whining about it for weeks, and would probably do better to cobble something together and quit crying about it. Getting closer on this front.

Finally, today is my daughter’s birthday. She went to Sun Valley to party with friends, but is due home today. We have plans to go to dinner somewhere tonight. That will be fun too.

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Because I’m easily amused

I have these fun new toys now, and I need to play with them. They involve the program Procreate, and my Apple Pencil.

Once upon a time, I wrote a story involving a snail. He's in The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack. I had Sean Harrington paint him into this bit of Lisa art to promote the book with.

I cut out the snail from this image, and placed it into my header image. Just to amuse myself, I'm going to make him move at a snail's pace across the image, and up onto my sunglasses.

He'll move slowly, and I don't know if I'll take him any farther than that. It involves loading a new banner every couple of days.

If you want to know more about the snail. You can check him out in The Experimental Notebook for the princely sum of 99¢.

 

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Easter Eggs and the saga of Wednesday

I really wanted to do a facelift on my blog. My regulars will remember me asking if I should go even deeper down the wormhole I've created using Lisa Burton as my spokesmodel. Popular consensus was not to do that, and keep a piece of it for myself.

One of the things I really wanted to do from my very first blog post was to include Easter eggs here somewhere. Not the kind you get at Easter, but the kind that show up in video games and such. Fun little things that will change from time to time.

My thought process went like this. Easter eggs, Easter, Easter Island… How do I keep a bit of myself in this and make it about me?

Dear Sean Harrington, I need a new banner. Here's what I have in mind… It involves leaving an open area where I can place whatever I like.

I got my new banner yesterday and assumed I'd be working on it today. That was before the disaster of italicized words showed up.

I woke up at 7:00 this morning. That's sleeping in for three hours by my work schedule. I ran out and checked my email first thing. Nothing from Amazon, lots of blog comments. Then I heated up some coffee and got some breakfast. This should give you an idea of my mindset over the italics fiasco.

Sat down with my coffee, and responded to blog comments. All combined, an idea was starting to form in my brain. Mae Clair was the one who pushed it over the top. Something had to be wrong with the way my word processor was closing the HTML command to close the italics out.

Apple Pages won't let me look at the HTML code. If it does, I haven't been able to figure it out.

Checked email. Nothing from Amazon.

Decided to get all artsy while waiting for Amazon. (Patiently, because that's how I am.) Used my Apple Pencil to modify my groovy new banner and include the Easter Egg. Right now it's Clovis' car and the dog from The Playground. This also comes with a bit of a learning curve, and some trial and error. It involves using something called masques, then layers, then making the background of the Easter Egg opaque. Turns out there is a vocabulary to this stuff too.

I'm 55 years old, I shouldn't have to learn new things. Why do I have to learn new things?

Check email. Nothing from Amazon. Look at that, Apple released a standard sized iPad Pro, and it has its own keyboard available and supports the Apple Pencil. Should I be mad? Am I mad? No, I like the larger amount of real estate, and the larger keyboard.

Delve deep into the inner workings of WordPress to change my banner. Stop, check email, nothing from Amazon.

Load my groovy new banner. Admire my handiwork.

Check email, nothing from Amazon. (I am so proud of how patient I'm being.)

Decide to change my Gravitar. Delve back into the inner workings of WordPress. Make appropriate changes. Like one of my own posts. It didn't work. Unlike that post.

Check email, nothing from Amazon.

Click on unchanged Gravitar, and attempt modifications through that system. Test by liking one of my own posts. It works.

Check email, nothing from Amazon.

We're burning daylight here people. I have Wednesday off, but I don't have Thursday off. I have to get up at 4:00 tomorrow.

Decided that it had to be something with the HTML code. Maybe if I typed and changed the font to italics when I typed, then changed back, the coding would be correct. The important part is manually changing it back.

Checked email, nothing from Amazon.

Made changes to a future Lisa Burton Radio episode. Emailed the author back. Check email… You know the drill by now.

Worked up the initial shtick for an even more future episode of Lisa Burton Radio, forwarded it to the author. Check email etc.

Open up The Playground in Apple Pages. Modify the italics sections line by line. As an example, if I write, “But you are stupid,” I deleted 'you' 'are' and 'stupid.' Then I retyped those words using “Courier – Courier italics – Courier.”

Checked email, etc. Fill in the blank.

Checked Facebook, accepted a friend request.

Checked email, (all together now) still nothing from Amazon.

Created an ePub version of The Playground.

Maybe I should check email one more time. Nothing.

Upload the new and improved version of The Playground to Amazon and wait for the document to process.

While I'm waiting, I can check email using my phone. Nothing.

Check The Playground using Amazon's previewer Kindle thingie. Everything looks great now. Am I good at this? I could be good at this.

Tap fingers, tug at beard.

Upload a new version of The Playground. Begin waiting 24 hours to see it go live. Then I can grab a review copy and check it line by line. (Looks like someone is going to be up past bedtime tomorrow.)

What the heck, check email. Amazon has answered. The guy was a total professional, and asked for more information including screen captures. I thanked him for his efforts, told him what I'm trying, and promised to get back with him either way.

Checked other forms of social media. John Howell left me an awesome 5 star review on Goodreads. I liked that puppy to get it into my timeline for my friends to see. Ran to Amazon and saw it was there too. Feel like a million bucks now. Probably ought to figure out how to share that on Facebook. New things, I swear I shouldn't have to learn new things.

I'm still uptight about things not working like they should, but I feel much better about it now.

If this all works, I have a dozen short stories to go through using the same process, and then there's the 35000 or so words in The Yak Guy Project. My attempt at an epistolary style short story is going to be a mother with the italics issue. Will that stop me? Noooo, but it may require some complaining.

Here are the takeaways. I have a cool new banner, and the ability to include Easter eggs. I have a new Gravitar image coming soon to a blog near you.

If you already bought The Playground, there may be a decent repair job available tomorrow for you to get. If you haven't, what are you waiting for. Read John's review and let him convince you.

I confess that I didn't get to read all the blogs today. I usually browse the 1000 or so that I follow and read the ones when something catches my eye. I finally made a list of must read blogs and put everyone who interacts with me in there. Today, I managed my list but that's about all. (Bonus takeaway: Those who interact are more likely to get read.)

I have a full growler of Old Chub Scotch Ale by Oskar Brewing, in Colorado. This is one of my favorite beers. I may start early today. I missed my nap, but beer is its own reward.

I hope it all works now. I won't have another chance to pull my beard and work in panic mode until Saturday.

By the way, Lisa Burton Radio is going to be fun tomorrow.

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Getting ready for tomorrow

I've been working on stuff tonight to keep it off my list tomorrow. One of these projects involved some kind of technical glitch, and I'm seeking help. I may have to delve into that tomorrow afternoon. My writing brain will be deep fried by then and a technical job will work the other half of my brain. I promised a friend, and I intend to come through somehow.

I found someone who knows about FM radio, and we've exchanged a few emails. I really won't need the information until Wednesday, so I'm golden there.

I'll probably have to take some time to get my tax stuff together. This is even less fun than a technical glitch, but also needs to get done.

Facebook is interesting. Who could have predicted that Lisa Burton's Facebook site would be more popular than the Entertaining Stories page. (Put your hands down, geez.) I found a bunch of the artists I enjoy on there and followed them. You never know when an author will need an artist.

I also found Leon Tukker. He is the incredible young man who made the cover for Arson. He's friends with Lisa now. If you'd like to check him out, go to Lisa's page. Contact information for him is the most recent post. Lisa's Page. He told me today that he'd like to do more book covers. Maybe some of you would like a great art contact.

Tomorrow is all about me and the Yak Guy. I have some good ideas there too, and am excited to get going.

For the rest of the evening, the graphic novel came today. I think I'll spend a little time reading it. In fact, I may see if the author and the artist are on Facebook.

Check this artwork out. Maybe Lisa needs a big hat and that dress.

 

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