Tag Archives: comedy

A bit of writing work today

Today wasn’t intended for new words. I had some writing messes to clean up, so that was my big goal.

First, I’ve had critique samples for Lunar Boogie for a week. While there weren’t any huge changes to make, there were a lot of small things. I find it too hard to focus on weeknights, so today I took up the challenge.

I also needed to get another submission ready for my group. I bounce back and forth, so this time they get to see Lanternfish. I worked on the next chapter for about an hour, including checking with an online editing program before sending it out. It’s out, so I’ll get to learn if my married cons still have what it takes to carry a chapter.

Only after taking care of all that, did I turn my attention back to Lunar Boogie. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know I had some issues with the ending of the story.

As a recap, I wanted to end this one on a down note which provided for a bit of character growth for Lizzie in the next book. I wound up ending it on a major bummer and wasn’t happy with it.

Last weekend, I added a scene and it kind of helped, but still wasn’t what I needed. Remember, these are partially comical in nature, so they really can’t end on sour note.

Today, I threw caution to the wind and added a bunch of material I was saving for the opening of Good Liniment, the next book in the series. It wound up requiring a chapter break which caused the last two chapters to be short ones.

This required me to research crystal therapy and come up with a name for a pot shop. All in a day’s work, right?

I hate to sacrifice some of the stuff from the next book, but think it probably works better here. Basically, Lizzie’s parents made an appearance earlier in the book via FaceTime. At the end, Lizzie goes to California to spend some time with them. Alone, without the hat.

As far as what I included, Lizzie spent this time with her mom, and she is a genuine C. S. Boyack character. I will have to come up with some additional material for Good Liniment, but I can handle that. I can also have Lizzie spend some time with her father who is running for State Senate.

What I enjoyed is how Lizzie is an amalgamation of her mother and father. I never planned this and it just happened. This is one of the fun things that keeps me going as a writer. Lizzie is hard working like her father, but lives paycheck to paycheck as a musician and hangs out with some strange characters. She isn’t quite as stoic and dedicated as her dad, but isn’t as batshit crazy as her mom either.

Lizzie’s mom helps add a laugh or two after the bummer moment. I think moving the material to Lunar Boogie was the right move.

I need to turn my attentions back to Lanternfish. I left James on the high seas the instant before the opening volley of a huge sea battle.

I hope all of you have power and water by now. That you’re warm and safe. Drop me a line and let me know what’s going on.

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My Annual Assessment, 2020

Well, here we are. We all know what this year was about. Political strife, a global pandemic, and seeing humanity at its worst, with glimpses of us at our best.

With the Christmas holiday, I kind of checked out. We went to our son’s and spent time with the grandkids. Our daughter was here for Christmas dinner, and we’ve been watching movies. I enjoyed myself, despite the restrictions we all face.

This is supposed to be about my annual assessment, so I’d better get on with it. Some of you are probably expecting some doom and gloom, and nobody will blame you, but that’s not how I see my year.

It all started out with such promise. 2020 was the Year of the Rat. I was born on the Year of the Rat. My first publication came out on Chinese New Year, and it features a couple of rats and the parade in San Francisco. It seemed like the table was all set.

Grinders did okay. It has some great reviews, but could use some more. Reviews seem to be harder to come by these days. I think it’s some of my best work and would like to get it to a few more readers.

Performance and reviews are kind of going to be the subject for a few paragraphs. I had an ambitious schedule and succeeded in publishing three books. The next two were continuations of series, which is something new to me.

HMS Lanternfish is book two of a trilogy. It sets up some things that will happen in the final volume, which I’m writing currently. I don’t know what it means, but HMS Lanternfish has less than half the number of reviews than Voyage of the Lanternfish.

I know Voyage has been available for a year longer, so that makes some sense. I also know that it’s a small dataset. Hard to draw conclusions with those kind of numbers.

Rumor has it that with trilogies sometimes the sales pick up after the whole trilogy is available. Some readers have been burned by authors who never finished the job. I understand that, but am working on the concluding tale.

Then there is the Ballad of Mrs. Molony. This is the third entry into the world of Lizzie and the hat. These have all been well received, but nowhere near as popular as the original volume. This is my open ended series, and I intend to keep it going for a few more years. I’m also currently working on volume four of this series.

It’s important to remember that reviews aren’t the same thing as sales. Most books sell more than what they garner in reviews and mine are no exception.

I also took most of the summer off. Three publications per year, for two consecutive years, got kind of draining.

I wanted to post at Entertaining Stories somewhere between two and three times per week. The year started off that way, but in the last month or so I’m lucky to get one weekend post put up.

I will blame some of this on Covid. My blog includes a slice of life along with the antics of Lisa Burton, or my word metrics updates. With Covid, there hasn’t been much of a life at all, let alone a slice worth sharing with the world.

Another excuse is also blog tour fatigue. When promoting three publications, there are a lot of blog tour posts. They fatigue me, and my readers. I keep every post unique, so they’re worth reading, and that is a bit draining.

The Story Empire blog is another pet project. I kept my end of the bargain and covered all my assigned days. I write this every year, but I’m wondering how much more I have to offer over there. I love helping others, and will keep chipping away at it. There comes a point where I have to rewrite and repackage some of my content. New writers are always showing up, so it kind of works. I already have my first January post written and scheduled.

To wrap all this up, I think 2020 was successful. There was a lot to overcome, and we’re all still dealing with it. However, I published three books, interacted with many of you, and met all my goals. In a different year, I might whine a little about low success, but in 2020 I’ll take it.

Once 2021 arrives, I’ll trot out a business plan and we can all converse about that.

Talk to me. How did your business year play out?

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The Ballad of Mrs. Molony #paranormal

Harmony Kent is a dear friend, and one of my partners over at Story Empire. She’s graciously offered to host me on this tour, and the topic is recurring location in my new series.

Make sure you look around Harmony’s site. I’m not the only one who writes Halloween stories and really enjoyed The Glade. You might enjoy her stories, too.

***

Hi everyone. Today, it gives me great pleasure to host fellow author and friend, Craig Boyack to showcase his latest book in the fab and funny The Hat Series. I’ve enjoyed both The Hat and Viral Blues and look forward to feasting my eyes on The Ballad of Mrs Maloney. If you’re a fan of magic and mayhem and humour, then you’ll love Lizzie and The Hat in all their incarnations.

Take it away, Craig >>>

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The Friday Teaser

Here we are, at the last Friday in September. I don’t think I’ve actually fooled anyone with the teasers, but they amuse me. Nothing too complicated, just hit the music and check out the poster.

The Ballad of Mrs. Molony is going to drop on October first, Lord willing and the Amazon doesn’t rise. Enjoy this poster of Lisa Burton recreating an image from the story.

Lisa Burton

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Some parts are more difficult

I’m still on my hiatus from drafting new material. The Muse sent me a bunch of future material and that’s been going great. I have two decent storyboards for stand alone tales. I also have three for stories about Lizzie and the hat.

The concluding story of Lanternfish still needs some work. Dealing with con men is harder that you might think. It requires a kind of mind game with the readers as well as the characters in the story.

I’m not sweating this yet and if I don’t start drafting something before December, I can live with that.

What is coming harder is any kind of comedy. I have faith in myself, but that will only get me so far. A lot of it comes to me as I write, but I usually have some antics in mind long before I start. Right now, I’ve got nothing.

This involves the relationship between Lizzie and the hat, but also the root monsters. As a buddy story, Lizzie and the hat will be easier to deal with. I have three reasonable plots and if I started writing today, they would be fine.

People love the root monsters from Lanternfish, and they need to shine as the trilogy comes to an end. I really hope I haven’t revealed all their tricks yet. I have a neat denouement in store for them, but that only helps at the end. They need purpose and humor as the tale unwinds.

One thing I’m toying with is to give them a tiny character arc. Instead of being told what to do, maybe they can start grasping what is happening and make some choices on their own. I’m not married to this idea, and as comedy relief, it kind of goes against all the rules.

What I really need are some root monster vignettes that sometimes come to me in dreams. Then I can sort through those and decide what could work in the story. I’m on the verge of reading HMS Lanternfish from start to finish as part of my editing process. That could spark some things, and you can bet I’ll have a notes app handy.

I’m 80% of the way through the book I’ve been reading, and that will signal time for editing. I might even do my traditional word searches in the evenings while Old What’s Her Face is watching television. I find that not focusing makes that go better. I miss common spelling errors when I get wrapped up in the story.

I sound like I have a plan, but I really don’t. I just know that I want Lanternfish out this summer, before it gets swallowed up with promotion for my Halloween oriented tale.

I hope everyone out there is being safe, and getting to enjoy some of the things you like.

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Searching for McDoogal #newbook

Let’s all welcome Mae Clair today. She’s one of my best author friends, and a co-founder over at Story Empire. Today she has a new book to tell us about, and it’s a short read. I love short books and it’s nice to see Mae dipping her toes in that water. I read it and gave it five stars.

***

Hi, Craig! Thanks for hosting me today for the release of my Amazon 90-minute short read, In Search of McDoogal. It’s great to have a new release, and a different one at that. As a mystery/suspense author with a bent for urban legends, many of my books carry a somber tone.

Not McDoogal. This is all light-hearted fun. The reader gets to tag along as two friends try to recover a missing painting before the artist returns to town.

Brady Conrad and Declan Fitzgerald met in high school. Now, a dozen years later, they both hold key positions at the Institute of Marine and Environmental Research. Declan is IMER’s Director, while Brady serves as an investigator. Much of the financial stability behind IMER comes from Declan’s grandfather, Bartholomew Winston Everett Fitzgerald, III. That’s a mouthful, right?

The senior Fitzgerald only gets a passing mention in McDoogal, but I have plans to explore his role in the future. I hope to continue “IMER” with a series of short reads and novellas. With that in mind, I even developed a logo for the institute. Check out the image on the left.

Down the road, if all goes well, it may show up on future book covers to designate subsequent tales in the series. And the fact that my institute is devoted to both terra firma and the briny deep, gives me lots of wiggle room to play. I wouldn’t be surprised if an urban legend even crept into institute study down the road. 😉

IMER comes up several times in McDoogal, but the gist of the story is all about that missing painting mentioned above. Brady has mistakenly sold it, and only has a set number of hours to recover it before his girlfriend—the artist—returns from an out of town trip. He doesn’t have much information to go on…the buyer’s name is Abe, he drives an orange pickup, and lives in a small town called Breakers Bay.

Road trip! And naturally, nothing goes smoothly . . .

***

BLURB:In search of something ugly…
All Brady Conrad wants to do is earn a few merit points with his artist girlfriend, so he volunteers to cover her gallery when she leaves town. What should be an easy day of sales goes belly up when he mistakenly sells a cherished painting.
With the clock ticking toward Vanessa’s return, Brady has less than a day to track McDoogal down. He coerces his friend Declan to tag along for moral support. How difficult can it be for an investigator and the director of a renowned institute to find a single painting in a town the size of a postage stamp?
Neither Brady nor Declan counted on a suspicious sheriff, rival baseball teams with a longstanding grudge, or a clueless kid trying to win his girlfriend with all the wrong gifts.
McDoogal is smack in the middle. But Brady’s biggest dilemma isn’t the disastrous hunt. It’s confessing to Vanessa her painting is the ugliest thing he’s ever seen.

***

I hope you’ll join in the fun of this road-trip-buddy-fic-comedy-of-errors. In Search of McDoogal falls into Amazon’s 90-minute short read category—perfect for an extended lunch break or quick read any time of the day or evening.
Thanks for helping me celebrate the release!
PURCHASE FROM AMAZON
Connect with Mae Clair at BOOKBUB and the following haunts:
Amazon| BookBub| Newsletter Sign-Up | Website | Blog| Twitter| Goodreads| All Social Media

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The Hat, on #LisaBurtonRadio

Welcome all you superheroes and ghost whisperers. You citizens of the great beyond. You’ve found Lisa Burton Radio, and I have a real treat for you today. I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl, and my guest today is Lizzie St. Laurent. She’s a twenty-one year old college dropout working multiple jobs to keep her head above water. “Welcome to the show, Lizzie”

“Hi Lisa. Hi everyone.”

“Lizzie, it looks like your parents are fairly well off. They were able to buy you a car, and pitched in for your education. How did you get to this point in your life?”

“College was always in the plan. To pull it off, I was going to live with my grandmother, and did up until she died. Then a college friend talked me into moving in with her, and that was okay until she bailed and went home to her parents. I was stuck with the apartment, and all the bills. I had to drop out and take on an extra job to make ends meet.”

“It wasn’t possible to keep living in your grandmother’s house? Did she have a mortgage or something?”

“No. She owned it free and clear, but it was part of the estate and my uncle couldn’t wait to get his hands on the money. He wound up with the lions share, because my mom, his sister, is out on the west coast.

“I didn’t care, but I loved her and wanted a memento of some kind. He refused and tried to pass off a casino ashtray as something of hers. Maybe it was, but I wanted a house plant or something.”

“I hate it when people are like that. This brings us to a pivotal point in your life though. Tell us what you did next.”

“I, um. I stole a box of stuff from the back of the truck. Partially because I’m an heir too, and partially because I wanted something of hers. It turned out to be this crappy old hat.

“Turned out it wasn’t a hat at all. He is a creature from another dimension, and he’s trapped in the form of a hat. He’s been here for thousands of years, and his last owner was my grandfather who I barely knew.”

“I know my fashion, and it changes even for men. I can’t imagine a style stuck around for thousands of years.”

“Oh, he can change, but always as headwear. It all started out when this soldier wanted eyes in the back of his head. He paid a witch to cast a spell like that on his helmet. The spell kind of worked, but it trapped him here and bound him to the soldiers bloodline. Turns out, I’m part of that bloodline.”

“That’s pretty cool. You could always have the latest fashion just by having him change, plus you could watch for muggers behind you at night.”

“Yeah, but there’s more to it than that. He’s a complete person himself. He has a mission, and my family’s been tangled up in it for years and years. He is some kind of paranormal avenger.”

“You mean like a superhero?”

“Yeah, if you want to put it that way, only he doesn’t arrest people or beat up the bad guys, he sh – um shoots them.”

“Wait a minute. How can a hat shoot anyone?”

“He um… He uses me for that.”

“You mean he takes over your body and makes you shoot people? Like some kind of Jekyll and Hyde thing?”

“Not exactly. Most of the time it’s monsters, but sometimes it’s people. Bad people though. I went along with it to save some babies.

“It’s more like I’m there, but he’s there too. I can do things I could never do before because he can.”

“I’m not understanding that, sorry.”

“He taught me how to shoot. I can shoot a pistol with my right hand, but at the same time, he can shoot one with my left hand. I can see what he sees, and I can even sleep while he drives my car.

“You make it all sound bad, but he’s an incredible musician. He plays the upright bass. I can sing a little, so we formed a band. It brings in enough money to pay the bills. It also takes us out nights where we can protect people from bad things.”

“What do your band mates think of him?”

“They don’t know. They just see me, wearing a hat, while I play the bass and cover the vocals. It makes me nervous not having a regular paycheck, but it’s worked out so far.

“Look, there’s a lot more to it, Lisa. There is a cabin in the woods, and the hat has some other skills, like being able to find people if he’s ever met them before. I don’t know if we have time for it all today.”

“Not for nothing, Lizzie, but I’m a robot girl who also appeared in a story. As such, I have some special skills myself. I can tell those earbuds you’re wearing aren’t giving off a signal of any kind. That’s him isn’t it?”

“Um, they’re just not turned on.”

“They aren’t turned on, because they’re fake. They aren’t even giving off an electrical imprint. Why don’t you come out and talk to us? Are you shy?”

“Oh, god no. He isn’t shy at all. He wants to maintain his cover. Thinks if people hear the broadcast they’ll just think I’m some crazy girl.”

“Lizzie, I feel like we’ve only scratched the surface here. I mean your grandfather was some kind of paranormal assassin, now you are too. We just don’t have time to dive into all of it.”

“It’s okay, Lisa. Your listeners can read all about it in the book The Hat, by our mutual author C.S. Boyack. It’s been a pleasure working with you today, and I hope we can do it again soon.”

“Maybe sooner than you think. The Hat is available on Amazon and I’ll go ahead and include a purchase link. I’m also going to add one of the posters I made to promote this book, since Craig wrote it. For Lisa Burton Radio, I’m Lisa Burton.”

***

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, and she’s working multiple jobs just to keep her head above water.

She inherits an old hat from her grandmother’s estate, but it belonged to her grandfather. This is no ordinary hat, but a being from an alternate dimension. One with special powers.

Lizzie and the hat don’t exactly hit it off right away, but when her best friend’s newborn is kidnapped by a ring of baby traffickers, Lizzie turns to the hat for help. This leads her deep into her family history and a world she’s never known.

Lizzie gives up everything to rescue the babies. She loses her jobs, and may wind up in jail before it’s over. Along the way, she and the hat may have a new way of making ends meet.

Humorous and fun, The Hat is novella length. Wonderful escapism for an afternoon.

Pick up your copy right here.

One of the posters Lisa posed for to promote this novella.

Lisa Burton

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SCROTUS, on #LisaBurtonRadio

Lisa Burton

Welcome all you veterans and dirt cowboys, you Hog aficionados of all kinds. You’ve landed on Lisa Burton Radio, the only show that brings you characters from the books you love. Today, my special guest is Shawna Kretchman, Chief of police on the Pine Creek Indian reservation. “Welcome to the show, Shawna.”

“Aww…thanks, Lisa. I’ve heard a lot about you. (From my other half, the one with the big mouth…) Really looking forward to meeting you.”

“Nice to finally meet you. We had your friend, Fish, on the show last year.”

“Oh, really? What did he say about me? Gotta tell ya, parts of me are afraid to ask…and I love the guy.”

“Nice things, I promise. He said something about a motor home in Twin Falls, and you putting him in jail, twice. But it was all really nice.”

“That’s right, Lisa. Locked him and his two buds up twice. First, for stealing a humongous RV. But we released them when we found out they had just repoed it. Then, we had to invite them back for another visit, after one of our guys found a stiff in the bus’s freezer. Turned out, it was the RV’s owner, who had gotten popped by his long-suffering girlfriend.”

“How did you wind up going from Twin Falls, Idaho, to the Sioux Reservation?”

“Well, after we cut Fish and his buds loose for the second time, I happened to mention that I ride a Harley, too – just like him. One thing led to another and he invited me down to visit him in Malibu for a few days of sun, good rides and some whatever. I showed up right when he and his two buds were getting ready to leave for a week-long blow-out in Sturgis, South Dakota—the biggest biker party in the biz. So, I rode along. And after three bar fights, a wrestling match in a ring full of chocolate pudding and a firefight with a bunch of hired killers, the rest is history.”

“So what does a week at Pine Falls look like for the Police Chief?”

“Well, it’s a long way from what you probably think. I mean, the Lakota Sioux are a pretty spiritual people in their own way. Treating each other with respect is huge on the Rez. And, since alcohol is banned there, drunks and bar fights are in pretty short supply. Now, we DID have a bunch of petroleum pipeline workers show up on their day off. And, hammered doesn’t even come close. They were inside the supermarket, tearing the place up and looking to pick up where John Wayne left off. Five beat-up store employees and a pair of huge, busted front windows later, I showed up. Tried to give them the choice of peaceably getting with the program, and ended up having to go all Godzilla on their hindquarters. Our visitors took home about fourteen busted teeth, a broken ankle, three crippled knees, one concussion, a dislocated shoulder, two broken jaws…and the grand prize winner got his own personal trache tube after I crushed his windpipe. I guess you had to be there.”

“Whoa…But listen, I heard you recently got involved with something even bigger. Set the stage a bit for us, if you will.”

“Ok, remember that petroleum pipeline that got bullied through a couple of states? Picture this—the president is due to fly out for the pipeline’s big grand opening celebration. I’m out at the state fairgrounds making sure my people are in place for the ceremony. Secret Service agents are running around checking ID’s and taking into their coat sleeves. All of a sudden, a parade of big black SUV’s pull onto the grounds…enough to make it look like a bigtime Mafia funeral. And in the center of the parade is the presidential limo. Before I know what’s happening, some little gerbil scurries over and tells me that President Tiny Fingers just HAS to meet me. So, while I’m walking over to the limo with him, our Liar in Chief tosses all of his Secret Service agents out of the car, because he needs some alone time with me.”

“But it all went off the rails. Tell our listeners what went down.”

“Lisa, off the rails doesn’t even begin to come close. First thing Orange Boy does is cough a whole container of chewed up Tic Tacs into his hand. THEN he shakes hands with me. Then, he gets my name wrong more times than you can count and informs me that he and I are going to have an affair to remember.”

“Ewwwww!”

“Right. Then, the party kicks into high gear. Naturally, I turn down his affair invitation. So, he unzips and whips out the teeniest little skin flute known to man and tries to get me to play a tune on it. As if! So, I tell him ‘no’ in terms any genetic throwback can understand. He sulks out his window for a couple of seconds, then pounces on me. Threatens to have his buddies in Russia pop a cap on me, and then tries to give me a pelvic exam through my uniform pants.

“Now, my momma always said that a lady doesn’t execute a sitting president. So, I did the next best thing. I subdued that idiot, slapped the cuffs on him, read him his rights, and charged him with a boatload of violent felonies, including attempted rape.”

“So is the President in jail right now? I know jurisdictional issues are a nightmare on a reservation.”

“Boy, is he in jail. And, thanks to a prosecutor and judge who agreed with my recommendations about him being a major league flight risk, that’s where he’s gonna stay until there’s a verdict.”

“There must be some political fallout. Did you get called out on Twitter?”

“Fallout? You have no idea. First, the White House sends the Attorney General out to drop the charges. Too bad the reservation is sovereign and separate from the U.S. government, so he has no authority. Then, he tries to bribe the prosecutor and me into dropping the charges, and ends up in the cell next to Orange Boy.

“Then, the White House Chief of Staff orders South Dakota’s governor to activate their National Guard, bust a lot of heads and free the prez. Too bad their commanding general decided to go rogue, and brought the entire guard down to the rez to fight on our side.

“Then, the pipeline company rents a couple of hundred security ‘contractors’ and has them try to break president Tiny Hands out of the slammer. Let’s just say, that puppy wouldn’t hunt.”

“Don’t leave us hanging. Testify, sister. What have they done to you?”

“Well, I did have a couple of days where things didn’t look good. One of the corrupt rocket scientists in Orange Boy’s cabinet talked to somebody. Who talked to somebody else. Eventually the word filtered down to the Republican Sheriff in the state capitol. He passed the governor’s orders along to the head of the county’s SWAT group. Next thing I knew, they grabbed me up in a bogus 911 call, and were going try to trade me for president Tiny Fingers.

“Ok, obviously, I made it out of that. But you’re going to have to read the book to get the whole story. I will say this: we were lucky the president’s cabinet and the Republicans in Congress were so corrupt, stupid and out of touch. They got really cocky when they thought they had us surrounded.

“Which was right where we wanted them.”

“Nobody should be above the law. Right or wrong, you have to trust the process here. Any closing remarks for our listeners today?”

“Well I kind of loved what Fish had to say after the dust settled on the whole thing. “I bet it’s gonna be a long time before another Republican president misbehaves on Shawna’s beat…”

“Shawna, I wish you all the best here. Stay strong and you’ll come out on top, maybe.

“Listeners can learn all about Shawna and how this shakes out in the book SCROTUS So-Called Ruler Of The U.S., by Jeff Lee. I’ll post all the pertinents on the website after I sign off.

“Make sure to use those sharing buttons on your way out today. Jeff and Shawna would do it for you, when your character appears on the next Lisa Burton Radio.”

***

“Fish” Fishbein and his girlfriend, Shawna Kretschman, have a nice, quiet life. He’s L.A.’s repo man and bounty hunter to the stars, and she runs the police force on a South Dakota Sioux reservation.

Then, the President of the United States comes to town. And her quiet life turns upside down when she has to arrest him for trying to forcibly exercise his ‘executive privilege’ on her in the back of the presidential limo.

Shawna wants the tiny-handed prez to stand trial for his assault and a handful of other violent felonies. But first, she and Fish will have to take on a corrupt Attorney General who wants to dismiss all charges, and an army of private security contractors out for blood.

And down in the White House Situation Room, the supremely unqualified, corrupt and wealthy members of the president’s cabinet are negotiating with the Russians to invade the country and free their woman-groping boss.

If this goes on much longer, someone is going to have to step in and save Shawna, Fish and the American people from their own government.

They say that politics makes for strange bedfellows. In SCROTUS’ case, very strange. Very fast-paced and very funny, too. With more Alternate Facts than you can shake a White House Press Liaison at. Imagine All the President’s Men meets Jason Bourne and The Three Stooges.

It’s bigly. It’s beautiful. You’re gonna love it.

It’s a done deal.

Pick up your copy on Amazon: bit.ly/tinyfingers

Born in New York and raised near San Francisco, I’ve been a copywriter and creative director for some of the country’s most creative ad agencies. Won a lot of silly awards for my creativity and wise-ass sense of humor.

And I’ve been writing in L.A. since before KC even HAD a Sunshine Band.

So, if there’s one thing I know, it’s that, given half a chance, this city can be a never-ending cavalcade of rib-tickling fun — and funny — things, people and approaches to this thrill ride we call life.

Like phony televangelists who produce biblical-themed porn for the faithful.

Bat-shit crazy showbiz moms.

Defrocked talent agents posing as Reality Show producers.

The Rose Parade.

And on.

And on.

It never freakin’ ends with this place.

There’s always something — or someone — to gape at and giggle over.

I tell ya, you’ve just GOT to love this town!

It’s the law.

Amazon Author Page: amzn.to/ 20j8CQp    

Facebook Author Page: on.fb.me/1QPczqQ

Website: jeffleewriter.weebly.com

Twitter: @jfredlee

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The Hat strikes again

Karen O. delivered this wonderful review of The Hat today. Stop over at Karen’s place to check it out. She’s a voracious reader who reviews the books she reads. She’s absolutely someone all authors should get to know. Karen also writes, and you might want to check out In A Small Compass too.

The author sent me an ARC of this book (mobi format) in exchange for an honest review (member of Rosie’s Book Review Team).

My rating:      *****

Plot
(by Goodreads)

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, and she’s working multiple jobs just to keep her head above water. Keep Reading here…

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A Grave Misunderstanding, on #LisaBurtonRadio

Lisa BurtonHello, and welcome to this week’s edition of Lisa Burton Radio. I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl, and I’m stoked to introduce this week’s guest. It’s my first time interviewing another robot. “Welcome to the show, Smithers.”

“It is my distinct pleasure, Lisa.”

“Smithers, you’re in the studio with me, but our listeners can’t see you. I’m excited to meet an advanced model, and you look as human as I do. In fact, I think you look a bit like Peter O’Toole.”

“Yes, that is very perceptive of you. In fact, most of us in the Simdroid 3000 Series resemble Peter O’Toole. Our human creator, Darius Hawthorne, has a great affection for O’Toole, particularly his role in Lawrence of Arabia. That’s why he has ten other simdroids in the mansion who look like me. Our voices vary, however. You know, Jimmy Stewart, James Cagney, and so on. Oh, and then there’s the upstairs maid, who has the voice of Marilyn Monroe. My voice, as you will certainly note, is the actual mellifluous voice of none other than the late Richard Burton.”

“Great voice, and great last name, if I do say so myself. My voice is an amalgamation of Catherine Zeta-Jones, Vanessa Williams, and a lady I thought sounded nice on a telenovella. Now my bio says you are a butler at Hawthorne Mansion. Butlers always have all the dirt. What kind of things go on at Hawthorne Mansion?”

“Until yesterday, I would have said nothing much. Polishing, cleaning, tidying, the usual butlerly stuff. But the murder has changed all that, you see, and not just any ordinary murder, but a murder that defies logic, at least any logic I’ve been given in my programming.”

“Why, what a wonderful puzzled expression you have generated!

“Let me explain. The gentlemen I am helping with this case, Detective Simon Grave and his near invisible partner, Sergeant Barry Blunt, call the murder a locked-room mystery, but with a twist. Instead of the victim, poor Miss Epiphany Jones, being locked in the room dead as can be, all of the so-called prime suspects—seven in all—were locked in the room, myself among them. Not that the butler did it, understand. Oh, my, who programmed your expressions? They are quite delightful.

“At any rate, we don’t know who did it, and I don’t know logically why Detective Grave thinks that any of us locked in that room could have been the murderer. He’s a rather curious fellow, and logic seems to be a challenge for him. That being said, he at least recognizes my abilities as an observer and recording device. He’s letting me sit in on the interrogations.”

“Let me tell you, my recording capability has proven handy more than once. Does anyone seem to know why the murder happened?”

“There are at least two theories. Firstly, there is reason to suspect a violent argument between the victim and Mr. Hawthorne’s daughter, Whitney Waters, who has achieved some small fame by painting red herrings, in the nude. And, of course, there is the MacGuffin Trophy, a sailing trophy that was stolen from the locked room the same night as the murder. Two crimes, you see, perhaps connected.”

“Hmpfff! So detective Grave is going to have to chase the MacGuffin, get it?”

“What? Oh, Ha! I see what you are doing there, but no. The trophy is named after Barnaby MacGuffin, a famous local yachtsman. The trophy is awarded to the winner of an annual race in Crab Cove.”

“Okay, so we have this missing trophy and a body. Do you have any suspects yet?”

“Well, Miss Waters, of course, although it could have been Mr. Hawthorne; his second wife, Philomena; his other daughter, wheelchair-bound Edwina; the French governess, Lola Lafarge; or Whitney’s young son, Roy Lynn Waters. And me, although that is quite ridiculous. Nothing in my programming suggests I could have done such a thing. Robots just don’t do that sort of thing.

“Still, the interviews of the suspects have been interesting. As I said, Detective Grave seems to have an oil and water relationship with logic. He reminds me more of that fictional character Dudley Do-Right than the equally fictional Sherlock Holmes.

“I have to say, though, that I think Detective Grave could learn something from Sherlock. I’m not sure if Arthur Conan Doyle’s novels are part of your database, but I can access them all, including his way of approaching a case, which is, and I quote: Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.

“Well, I’m afraid Detective Graves’ approach goes something like: Once you eliminate the truth, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the impossible.

“So, right at the moment, everyone is a murderer and a thief, and everyone is a red herring.”

“Oh crap, that reminds me. The traveling salesman Red Herring stoped by the writing cabin recently. I need to finish cataloging and putting all that stuff away. I’ll bet my author would prefer a naked lady painter to show up. Wait, Whitney is a lady, right?”

“Yes, and quite beautiful, according to my programming. A ten on some maddeningly subjective scale or other, ten being the highest. Although frankly, that is not a data point of any interest to me. I am a Simdroid 3000, Series 2, Butler Model XL, and butlering is what I do. I am not human and don’t wish to pass for human.”

“See, that’s our programming. I was built to almost trick people into believing I’m human, so I want to be as human as possible. If I were programmed to be a butler, I’d want to be the best butler possible. I really respect your work ethic and dedication.”

“Well, the sooner we solve this murder, the sooner I can get back to doing just that. And that will be fine with me.”

“Smithers, I wish you all the best. Sometimes these little diversions can be maddening. Do you have any closing remarks for our listeners today?”

“Being a butler, my entire focus is on serving my master and his household as well as I can. Part and parcel to that, of course, is being as efficient as possible. With that in mind, I would make the following humble requests. Gentlemen guests, please lift the seat before urinating. Lady guests, please avoid leaving lipstick on the champagne glasses.

“And thank you, Lisa, for letting me ramble on. You have quite run down my battery.”

“You can learn all about Smithers, the MacGuffin Trophy, Barry Blunt, and the others in A Grave Misunderstanding, by Len Boswell, one of the Simon Grave Mysteries. I’ll include all of the deets on the website.

“Don’t forget to help me keep the lights on around here. Please use those sharing buttons and help Len and Smithers spread the work about this book.

“For Lisa Burton Radio, I’m Lisa Burton.”

***
Book Blurb:
In A Grave Misunderstanding, by Len Boswell, the first in a new series of Simon Grave Mysteries, “almost handsome” Detective Simon Grave and his “nearly invisible” partner, Sergeant Barry Blunt, investigate a locked-room mystery with a significant twist: the prime suspects are in the locked room, not the victim, a logic-defying situation that challenges the team at every turn. As if murder weren’t enough, they must also investigate the simultaneous disappearance of The MacGuffin Trophy from that same locked room, the studio of artist Whitney Waters, famous for her stylized paintings of red herrings.

Who is/are the killer(s)? How did he/she/they get out of the locked room with the trophy, kill the victim, and return unnoticed by others in the room? These and other questions, including the limits of logic and the meaning of life, are posed and perhaps even answered in this quirky, near-future mystery. Yes, there are robots.

Author Bio:

Len Boswell is the author of Flicker: A Paranormal Mystery, Skeleton: A Bare Bones Mystery, The Leadership Secrets of Squirrels, and Santa Takes a Tumble. An award-winning writer, he now spends his days in the mountains of West Virginia, with his wife, Ruth, and their two dogs, Shadow and Cinder.

You can follow Len and pick up a copy of A Grave Misunderstanding at the following locations:

Purchase Link

Twitter: @simonsilverback

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