Tag Archives: book reviews

Why?

Sometimes in life we do things that defy explanation. Things that go against our natures, because jobs demand it, marriage demands it, stability, parenthood, it makes for a long list.

Speaking of lists, I’ll share one here. I could use bullet points, but it is a long list. Consider some of these things in modern life: bills, jobs, mandatory overtime, politics, social media, violence in the street, import tariffs, export tariffs, immigration, social problems, terrorism, military actions, taxes, home maintenance, chores, yard work, house work, health care, veterinary care, it goes on an on.

We can all use a short break. Sometimes we need to take time to shut it all out for a few hours. This is why I write speculative fiction. The big “why” is so we can all escape for a few hours. I escape when I write it, and I hope you do too when you read it.

We have enough of the unavoidable things in our lives. It’s nice to know that the good guys can win. That a proper ending is still out there somewhere, even if it’s between the pages of a work of fiction.

I finally got Viral Blues into NetGalley and Book Sprout. If any of you are interested in a free copy in exchange for an honest review, these links may interest you.

http://netgal.ly/RcaLDo

https://booksprout.co/arc/22202/viral-blues

I’ll be back out on the tour trail next week. I hope you’ll join me and speak up in the comment sections.

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Saturday, for what it’s worth

I really slept in this morning. I mean more than ever happens. Part of this is because I stayed up watching baseball last night. In fact, I have today’s game on right now.

My wife and daughter were both off today, so productivity ended when I didn’t get up early. My only goals this weekend were to schedule a future interview, and to write shticks for two more. I never got any of it done.

I appreciate Rosie’s Book Review Team for another great review of The Hat. This one seems to be doing well with its readers. In fact someone grabbed a copy from Netgalley, and I received an additional five star review.

I never accomplished much today, but I can’t complain about the good things that happened.

Old What’s Her Face wants some sourdough rolls to go with dinner tomorrow. She bought a replacement bag of flour for me, and I just finished mixing them up. They probably won’t get really sour, but they’ll still be nice rolls.

There are a few hours left to get your copy of The Enhanced League while it’s still free. I saw it get as high as 28 on the sports stories chart. I only take photos now if something gets on a top ten list.

Those who read Enhanced League, seemed to enjoy it. You don’t have to be a baseball fan to understand the human interest stories in this collection.

Next week, my workplace is sending me to a convention in NOLA. Great place to go, but work won’t allow tons of time to have fun. I may have to write some of my shticks on the airplane, but at least I’ll have that time available.

I’ll share a photo or two if I see something cool while I’m there.

PS: Grab a copy of Enhanced League.

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Working away here

I intended to update last night, but with a great new review I felt like that served me better. Actually, I got three new reviews over the weekend, but Robbie blogged about it and that means a lot to me. (Thanks, Robbie.)

Over the course of the last two days, I’ve managed about 5000 new words on my project. My characters made it to their destination city and are researching their options. In the mean time, another assassin is lurking about. There is a bit of small monster mayhem going on too. My main character, James, has been approached by a man with a shady plan. The new guy calls himself Johnny Jump Up. This little encounter led to James going missing.

Johnny has a past, and I’ll weave a bit of that into the story later. Particularly how he came by the name.

This one is tentatively called Voyage of the Lanternfish, and it’s pirate themed. I made a general piracy board on Pinterest, and it’s good for inspiration. There are some great angler fish images there. I chose the term Lanternfish for my fantasy story. I’d love to share one, but I don’t want to step on anyone’s copyright. You may want to check it out on Pinterest.

In author terms, I’m fast approaching the end of Act One. This is where the plan fails and the bottom falls out. I’m really looking forward to getting there. The section I’ve been writing involves a bit of deep tension. I like to jump ahead and get to the action, but some scenes like this are necessary.

One of the tough decisions I made was to set this in a fantasy world. This was an attempt to distance myself from a certain popular franchise. This means I need alternatives to places like Tortuga. It also requires me to include a few fantasy creatures, like the owlcats I referenced a couple of times. I plan to glance off some of this, just to give the world some flavor. Things like saltwater bay frogs, and pelicanfish. I’ll come up with a few more, but may not use them all.

What I need to be doing is chipping away at some blog tour posts. I have another book ready to go, and I want to release it before summer, because summer has been pretty dismal in my experience. I need ten posts, and really need to start on them.

In other news, I wrote and scheduled my next Story Empire post. It’s up on Wednesday. I also exchanged enough material to complete another of Lisa’s interviews. I admit to pecking away at these. I’m a bit ahead of the game, so I’m using that time to work on my story.

My wife and I are both off tomorrow, and that usually doesn’t lead to new fiction. This may be a good time to start working on those promotional posts.

I’ve also neglected blog reading, Twitter, and the rest. Maybe I’ll spend some time catching those up.

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A little catching up

The blog tour ended some time ago. THE HAT is still selling in some degree. I did have a blank day, but only one. That seems to be the way of all my releases. They spike as my friends spread the word, then drop off. Still, those seventeen positive reviews might help me out a bit.

Before I get into my weekend plans, I’m going to suggest that not everyone is into the Superbowl. If you’re one of them, you could probably read THE HAT from start to finish before the game ends. The cover in the side bar is a link.

Today was my flex day, which gives me a three-day weekend. I spent today working on Lisa Burton Radio stuff and reading. It looks like tomorrow will be more of the same. That should clean up the interviews I have working, and finish the wonderful book I’ve been reading.

I am going to surf through some active storyboards at some point. I’ve gotten a lot of decent ideas from Lorelei, the Muse, lately. I want to leave a few sticky notes at minimum, and may do more than that on a couple of them.

If the stars line up, I may even add a chapter to ESTIVATION. This is the second novella I have planned and it is a suspense story with a science fiction background. I don’t feel rushed at all with this one. THE HAT is out there, THE YAK GUY PROJECT is a finished product playing a waiting game. I have all year to finish ESTIVATION, and like I said, it’s a novella.

I’d like to start stockpiling some more short stories, but I’m not exactly feeling it right now. There is a pretty good chance that I’ll dive into another novel after I finish it. This one is a pirate story, but it needs to spend act one not being a pirate story. This is because the main character has to spend some time trying to be his father before realizing that he’s not. He is his own person, and has a different skill-set that might solve the big problem. Right now, I’m debating whether this is a deal killer. You put a pirate ship on the cover and people expect some piracy right off the bat.

Lisa would look good as a pirate, wouldn’t she?

Something will come to me. It always does. Besides, I should do something more with THE HAT, and I should find something to do with THE ENHANCED LEAGUE. Pitchers and catchers report to camp in two weeks. Unless someone offers a cool suggestion this might amount to a free period around Spring Training somehow. It cracks me up how a 99¢ book gets ignored, but if you offer it for free – people scoop them up like M & Ms. I’ve gained reviews from free copies too. This is one of those places where I’m inclined to just accept it and go with it.

You guys remember THE ENHANCED LEAGUE, right? Any really good promotional ideas you can spout?

Lisa Burton

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Accomplishments

For me, I don't think a writer should measure progress by word count alone. Word count matters, but if you're a self publisher like I am, there are other chores that must be dealt with.

I managed about 2000 words on my novel today. I kind of glazed over the Strength card from the tarot deck. I like the symbolism, but don't feel like the lesson here is central to my story. It's there if you look hard, but beyond the yak talking about it, I left it short. Next round will bring in the Hermit.

I worked through my critiques and made a few changes based upon their advice.

I also finally finished the book I was reading. It was a great story, I just took too long reading it. I left the guy a nice review too. Not for nothing, but it takes time to leave a review. I won't snub someone, because I need reviews too. I understand their importance.

I have another book I'm reading, but they're short stories and break into easier reading segments. I want to be finished with it by January though, because I promised a friend a beta read.

I wrote two of four guest posts I promised a different friend. They don't take a lot of time, but I need an idea. I need two in fact before I can write the last posts. I'm supposed to deliver them by the end of the month, and while that sounds like a long time in blogland, I need the ideas behind them.

I did a bit of development on a future Lisa Burton Radio post too. I have a couple of weeks to get it all sorted out, but I'd like to get the first round finished by the weekend.

Short fiction got cheated this weekend. I usually rely upon short form to fill in the gaps, but my family did that for me. We saw the new Star Wars movie too. I enjoyed it, but it was kind of mediocre to my mind.

I'm not off again until Saturday. We'll have grandkids over and it will stay busy for a few days. I'm off until January 3rd though, so I have to make it pay. Before then I can work on Lisa's radio show, and might get to those guest blog posts.

How was your weekend? Did anyone else feel the same way about Star Wars? Tell me about your promotional projects. Tell me about your own word metrics.

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The Playground by C. S. Boyack

A wonderful new review for The Playground. Actually, it would be fun to see one of my stories turned into a feature film.

When Angels Fly

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The Playground by C. S. Boyack

My review follows the authors blurb found on Amazon.

“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…

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Let’s check the reviews

Regular readers know that I’ve had my new book out on a blog tour lately. I try to reblog the posts as a way of supporting my hosts. I hope they pick up some new followers along the way.

Part of setting up this tour was the decision not to request specific dates. These hosts are all friends, and in many cases they have specific things that occur on their blogs. These might be Wednesday Wander, Thursday Doors, or any number of fun things. I don’t want to disrupt them, so I asked for a selection of dates at their pleasure. This means that some days along the tour I may have a blank, and others may double up.

I’ve waited until midday, and haven’t spotted a tour post to share, so I’m going to make one up. The tour is for The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack II. Since the reviews are starting to come in, I thought it would be fun to snip some lines from them and share them here. Maybe one of the reviewers will whet your appetite for some shorter fiction.

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“This is a spectacular collection of short and micro fiction. I really enjoyed the author’s first “Experimental Notebook” but this one is superb. The blend of stories from sci-fi, to paranormal and even horror, is an entrancing mixture much like strolling through a sideshow carnival and goggling at all the curiosities. Some of these stories will make you think, a few might make you squirm, but all will have you applauding at how deftly they’re delivered…I have my favorites. From the pulp-type Last Flight of the Rocketmen to the cleverly executed Documentary and oddness of Magpies (just to name a few), there is something here for everyone. Best of all, you can easily enjoy them in small doses or all at once. My absolute favorite is Holo-Barkers, a brilliant little piece that I still find myself grinning about.”

“It is hard to choose favorites for I enjoyed each story for a different reason. The following are just a few that lingered in memory after reading, although each story was well done. ‘Magpie’ was narrated simply, yet it conveyed a touch of the macabre as the predatorial birds gather waiting for a woman to die… ‘Night Bump Radio’ DJ Pete Rogers runs a late night radio show from a trailer parked on land that has a mystical history. Callers talk about things live to air, the things that go ‘bump’ in the night. As, Pete chats to his callers, what appears to be interference is heard on the line. That interference continues, becoming clearer and more audible with each call he takes. I don’t want to spoil this for anyone, so suffice it to say that I’ll be listening more acutely tonight when I close my eyes. This story was chilling… These speculative pieces hold something for everyone, and have left me eager to explore more of this talented authors work.”

” In THE EXPERIMENTAL NOTEBOOK OF C. S. BOYACK II, we are treated to a wide variety of Boyack’s talents, which include the sci-fi, horror, and paranormal genres. It’s clear these stories came from an active and creative mind, and it’s difficult to pick a favorite; each story is more entertaining than the next. But if I have to give a shout-out to one, it’s “Practical Geology.” I’m pretty sure that one’s going to stay with me for a while. If you enjoy any of these genres, you’re going to want to give this collection a try.”

“Boyack has written another great collection of short stories. Each one drew me in and had me waiting for twists that did not disappoint. A lot of them have a science fiction and horror vibe, which keeps a great theme going throughout the collection. Even with the similar genres, every story has a unique voice and atmosphere. I would say my favorite is ‘Inheritance’ because of the multiple voices. It’s longer than many of the others, but it keeps you locked in and wondering what is going on. There is definitely an eerie mystery to that I remember long after I finished reading it.”

“I read the author’s first Experimental Notebook, and really enjoyed it. But I liked this one ever better. C.S. Boyack’s ability really shined through. I’m amazed by his level of creativity. For an author to be able to write in so many genres, from speculative fiction to paranormal to crime, he has talent galore. The EXPERIMENTAL NOTEBOOK II starts off with a bang with FEVER. Loved that story!!! I also loved THE LAST FLIGHT OF THE ROCKETMEN, which really surprised me, actually. I’m not usually a fan of spaceship anything, but the voice of the story was so well done I couldn’t stop reading it.”

“If you’re looking for a collection of short and micro fiction, don’t look past this one. C.S. Boyack excels at maintaining pace, giving us characters we can root for, and stories with loads of creativity. Highly recommend.”

“The second Experimental Notebook by C. S. Boyack is another adventure into some entertaining and downright genius short stories. The beauty of most of the stories is they grab you right in the beginning and then lead you down a path you never expected. It is a path that you are glad you traveled but where it comes out is an unusual surprise. Several of the stories were my favorites (it is hard to pick a favorite). The inheritance brought to mind the classic Victorian story with a sorry ending. Last Flight of Rocket Man was ingenious in its characterizations and story detail. Night Bump Radio was my most favorite but have to confess I was a radio jock in my youth. The scenes were well drawn, and the accuracy of the studio functions was impressive.
I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a variety of stories with a consistent quality of writing and spirit of surprise.”

“Boyack has an imagination like no other. His short stories are always well written and uniquely different, the attention to detail second to none. Such a wide variety of interesting topics, full of memorable characters. Every time you think you have a favorite story, you find another one!
You won’t be able to put this book down until you have read them all, and still want more.”

“I read the first Experimental Notebook of C S Boyack and when I saw this second volume, I had to read it. The author didn’t disappoint. The collection contains short stories of varying length and genre, ranging from tales that chill to experimental fiction to sci fi and more. It wouldn’t feel right to pick a favourite, as they’re all good for different reasons, and many leave you thinking about them long after you’ve read them.”

There you have it; a sample of the kind of reviews the Second Notebook is getting. It’s priced at 99 cents, and is performing well. If you think these kind of stories might appeal to you, I’d appreciate you checking them out. Halloween is coming soon, and some of them make great spooky reading.

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