Tag Archives: cover reveal

Street Teamers, it’s about that time

I promised to post about my next book today, and how you can become part of the street team. I know approximately what I want, but actually writing it out clarifies things a bit for me.

The Playground is a short novel at just under 70,000 words. It involves a greedy businessman who markets a new social media for children, the Playground Network. Kids access the media via a line of specific toys.

The network is marketed one way, but has dark intentions behind it. To accelerate his master plan, the businessman turns to the occult.

This book explores the idea that maybe our kids spend too much time online these days. They speak with people who aren't who they seem, and believe authorities with no basis in fact. They don't spend enough time with their parents, or real live friends.

It's told from the point of view of three separate characters. This was my personal challenge in this story. I want to weave together three different story lines to tell one larger story.

These characters are:

  • Chloe, who acquires the fashion doll of her dreams. Chloe represents the victims here. Think of her like the girl in the well.
  • Gina, a cancer survivor. She is a doctor and is basically a broken person at the beginning of the story. She has her own brush with the occult, and may be the only one who can end this nonsense.
  • Clovis, a brutal thug hired by the businessman to retrieve some computer codes that will take his Playground Network to a terrifying level.

The story goes to some crazy places, like conjuring the spirit of a dead medium, a voodoo practitioner, dealing with parasites, and living with an obnoxious dog. I think it's fun.


I've looked at it until my eyes are crossed. I'm sure it needs a few tweaks, and that's when it's ready for beta readers.


I'm asking for a few beta reader volunteers who can read this book within 30 days or so. The betas can be as ruthless and brutal as they want. I'm looking for story assistance here, but always appreciate the grammar and spelling and such if you spot something.


The folks who usually volunteer all have my email address, but I welcome new folks too. Here is my email address if you want a copy Coldhand (dot) Boyack (at) gmail (dot) com.


I'll probably add some detail to my cover email when the copies are sent. I'll also send a copy of the book cover.


While the beta readers have the hardest job, a street team involves so much more. If you'd like to participate in a cover reveal, let me know. If you'd like to host a blog tour date, I'll be writing those posts too. Lisa the robot girl has her biplane fueled up and a great new poster to hand out to those who host her. I'll be writing a couple of posts with Lisa in mind. If you have an interview idea, I'm open to that too.


Volunteers are welcome to do as much or as little as they want. I'm always grateful for any help I get. I promise to keep a spreadsheet this time so everyone gets the right items.


So there is my call to action. No rallying cry, or cheese involved. I hope to hear from you. (Lies in the fetal position and crosses fingers.)


My next project is to write a blurb, and about a dozen guest posts. I did manage a few new words on The Yak Guy project this morning.


Filed under Writing

Assessment Part One

September and October were busy months for me on the promotion front. I really dislike promotion, but it’s necessary for authors to push here and there. My promotional stuff wove together like an intricate web. I decided to hit it hard and see what happens.

Here is a list of everything I can remember. I intend to do follow up posts and break down the assessment a bit further.

  • The Experimental Notebook of C.S. Boyack was designed to fuel interest in my longer works.
  • There was cover art for this book shared across blogland.
  • I sent Notebook on a tour of my blog friends.
  • I paid for a blog tour for Will O’ the Wisp.
  • I accepted every guest invitation I could during this time. I reblogged them all too.
  • I set up some review sites for both books.
  • I participated in Teri Polen’s Halloween promotion.
  • I pushed out Macabre Macaroni stories every week of October.
  • I ran three Amazon promotions.
  • I participated in the Rave Reviews Book Club Back to School Book and Blog Block Party.
  • I tried to sent out at least one tweet per day throughout this time period.
  • There were some unexpected surprises along the way that I benefited from.

Let’s talk about the first four today. Everything relates to everything else, but I have to start somewhere.

Notebook has a couple of promotional things about it. It was designed to be a gateway drug to my longer fiction. I tried to cover the various speculative genres I write in. If you’re into science fiction, there are a couple of stories for you and you only spent 99 cents. Maybe you enjoyed a fantasy or a ghost story along with your science fiction.

I also included an introduction and mentioned that writers appreciate reviews. Finally, I included a section of Will O’ the Wisp in the back of the book. It’s like a free test drive.

I did the usual cover art release to fuel interest. This was followed up by begging asking blog friends to host a post about this new book. I used Lisa the robot girl to help with this, and commissioned some unique art to help the push. Lisa draws a lot of attention, and the images are pretty good at getting folks to take a gander. She dropped these off as posters for various hosts along the way. (It doesn’t hurt that she has a short story in Notebook either. It drives interest.)

I made a few writing cabin posts myself about getting Notebook out the door. They were very popular.

In October, I sent Will O’ the Wisp on a tour that I paid for. I hired 4-Wills Publishing to put this together for me. Some of these posts went to non-Wordpress sites, and that’s a good thing. A blog tour is all about reaching new people. I love you guys, but we all seem to follow the same group of people. A tour can become so much static after you’ve seen it a few times. With new sites, it’s at least fresh to a few people.

I shared some Lisa art at a few of these stops too. It’s the same reasoning, just different art.

I sold books based upon these ideas. The Notebook tour was particularly successful. Tours are kind of hit and miss, but reaching new readers via a paid tour has some merit.

I tried to reblog everyone who hosted me, and those who surprised me along the way. I also tried to participate in the comments. I think commenting is extremely important.

I don’t have any data to decide if the Experimental Notebook drove sales to Will O’ the Wisp. To really test this, I would have to only promote Notebook and assess the Wisp sales. I didn’t want to take that chance. I believe Notebook moved a few copies of Wisp. (And it could keep happening.)

I averaged just under three book sales per day for over sixty days. There are still sales coming in. The funny part is every book except Arson made a few sales. Arson is a different story, and I’ll leave it at that. A bunch of people bought The Cock of the South in a three day cluster. Notebook landed in the top 100 for a few days in some segment of Amazon.

Notebook was the big seller. Is it because of better cover art? Maybe my blurb is better? Maybe its the 99 cent price. There is no way of knowing for certain, but it’s worth thinking about. More on this when I write about the Amazon promotions.

Some of you will laugh at my small success, but it’s pretty darned good for me. It’s a place to build from. I like the fact that it lasted so long, and it’s still happening.

I’ll grab another handfull of bullet points and write about them in a couple of days. Everything ties together, and it’s either break it down, or make one gigantic post that nobody will actually read.

Weigh in here. Are there other things I could have done? Maybe something else I should have done? I spent money on the book that delivers a 70% royalty, and did as much free stuff as possible for the one that only pays 35 cents per sale.


Filed under Writing

It’s a new book baby

My book of short stories is available for pre-order today. At 99¢ it really isn’t much of a gamble. You get around a dozen short stories and micro-fiction pieces for one low price. The books will deliver on September 15th.

Here’s how it went down out at the writing cabin. I think I managed to touch upon every story in the book, but you’ll have to read it to see how…

Lisa Burton banked her Grumman biplane left over the meadow surrounding the writing cabin. She’d need to come around and land into the wind.

Tendrils of fog crept out of the window in Craig’s office, and mingled with the fog on the ground. The tail section of an airliner lodged in the end of a fresh trench. It looked like it barely missed the cabin.

She dialed Craig’s number, but there was no answer. She checked the plane’s machine guns for ammo, just in case, and began her approach.

Lisa hit the throttle, lowered her landing gear, and brought her plane around. Someone left a fifty gallon drum at the end of the runway. She calculated the distances and wind velocity using her internal processors. The plane could overshoot the barrel and still land without crashing.

Safely on the ground, she wheeled the plane around, killed the engine, and ran for the front door. She tugged the front of her Daisy May blouse up before going inside.

A huge axe and spear lay across the carpets she just cleaned. Next time he sends me to pose for Sean Harrington, I’m making him come with me. This place is a mess.

The kitchen sink held an ancient rum bottle with no cork. A wonderful soup smell came from the paranormal office. An old human skull with the number IX sat upon her clean counter. She checked the place using infrared vision, but the only heat signature other than the soup kettle was Bunny in the upstairs bedroom. “Hello! Is anyone here?”

She picked up skull number nine, and whispered. “What have you two been up to?”

The paranormal office was a mess. She extinguished a Bunsen burner, put away the jars of herbs and reagents, and swiveled the pot of soup away from the coals in the fireplace. A large cast iron ladle hung over the lip of the kettle. “Curious.”

A bloody lab coat lay on the floor outside the laundry room. She pulled her pistol and moved toward the main writing office. “Have you been writing short stories again?”

She followed her pistol around the corner into the main office. A huge snail crawled across Craig’s desk. She aimed at it. Trigonometry using the angles between her eye units told her the snail was nearly a foot long.

Doubt, the raven, flew over to the desk and landed between her and the snail.

She lowered her gun and walked to the desk. A thick slime trail spread out behind the snail. The snail headed for the computer and she reached out to move the keyboard.

Doubt pecked at her hand.


The snail used its eyestalks to peck away at the computer. H-e-l-p m-e.

“Oh gross. You not only slime, but you type. Craig is going to be upset.”

I a-m C-r-a-i-g

“Oh my God! What have you done now? We’re going to need a case of slime away for your desk.” She ran for the door and turned back. “Don’t run off. I’ll try to find some help. Maybe Jinx or Patty Hall are still in your Rolodex.” She put a hand on her hip. “I don’t suppose you can — Never-mind.”



Rachel Carrera made this beautiful cover for me. The purchase link is http://www.amazon.com/dp/B014S2BA4U

This was a fun project, and I am really excited to share it with all of you.

It looks like I have a lot of work ahead of me to modify my sidebar, approach review sites, modify my about me page, etc. etc.

Thanks to my advance readers for pointing out my errors ahead of time. Thanks also to those who offered to post the cover in the next few days, or host something about this book. You guys are awesome.


Filed under Muse, Writing

Recruiting some helpers today

I have a final cover for The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack, and I'm looking for some volunteers to share it on their blogs. I have to say, it's pretty awesome looking too.

I'll probably drop a few personal emails along with this recruiting poster. My intention is to show off the beautiful cover for a few days, then hit it next week with some blog tour type information.

If you're one of my advance readers, next week is the time for those who would like to post something. I'm also willing to write something or participate in an interview if you like. (First come, first served if you would like to invite Lorelei my Muse, or Lisa Burton the robot girl. I'll only do one each for them.)

If you'd like to play along, please contact me at: coldhand (dot) Boyack (at) gmail (dot) com


In other news, I actually won something yesterday. I won a copy of Milele Safari, by Jan Hawke.

This was part of the Rave Reviews Book Club's Back to School Book & Blog Block Party. The party goes on all month, and there are prizes every day. All you have to do is visit the sites and leave a comment to enter. There are also some pretty cool grand prizes at the end of the tour. Here is the roster of participants, and it gets updated every day.


Filed under Writing

S’pose I ought to post something

I go on vacation for nearly three weeks, starting Friday. This gave me a little bit of time to get the camper ready, and maybe move a couple of projects forward before we head out. I also get a bit of time after we get back home.

I'm getting company next weekend. It's never failed so far. My vacation time is like a company magnet. It doesn't matter, we always have a good time together. This is one of the reasons I stay non-committal about deadlines and such. Writing is my fun time, and I don't have to live by rigid performance deadlines. If it has to wait a week it can. I don't have a New York publisher breathing down my neck.

Here is my loose plan of what I want to accomplish. I'm going to participate in the Rave Reviews Book Club Back to School Book and Blog Party. (Who names this stuff?) this will take up one day of blog space in mid September. It looks like a good turnout of people exchanging support for our various projects.

I want to publish The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack in early September. I still haven't decided how I'm going to promote this one, but I should set up some relatively free stuff. I'll ponder on the idea and come up with a few things.

I decided to write posts for Macabre Macaroni again this year. This involved micro fiction I posted weekly during October last year. I debated its merit on this blog, and the feedback helped me make up my mind. If I'm doing it again, I might as well make it work for me. I'm going to figure out a way to make it part of my promotion for the Experimental Notebook. I already have a couple of the stories written.

I'm going to make a pretty big push for Will O' the Wisp in October. I booked a blog tour, and have all the posts written already. I decided to submit this one to a few more book reviewers too. I need to get on the stick if I'm going to time this before Halloween. Wisp is a natural for a Halloween push and I'm going to go for it. Reviewers need time to read it, so I'd better get moving.

I'll probably do most of the standard things, like cover reveal posts for the new book. I may do some guest spots here and there. Right now, I'm concentrating on the issues that must be planned ahead.

I'm still thinking about placing some more Amazon advertising. This is more about awareness than sales. You gamble with $100, but they normally don't spend it all. I think 19,000 people saw my ad last time, and it cost me about $18. I don't see that as a bad thing.

Every day involves baby steps toward these goals. If I keep doing a bit here and there it all gets done. It leaves me time for a trip to the coast, and a visit with company. If I wait until the last minute I get too stressed out.

I need to plan for other events too. I already have a post with Lisa about the upcoming book. I need to write another one about choosing which outline will become my next project. Then I need to spend some quality time with my current manuscript and edit it into something coherent. This will involve some time with Doubt the Raven.

I'm kind of surprising myself here. It's a lot to do, but I can manage it. After October I will prioritize editing my novel, and finishing the winning outline.

Here is a question for those of you who've tested a specific Amazon process. Is there any value in setting up my book of short stories as a pre-order? This involves publishing it using a specific date. Consumers can order it, but Amazon won't deliver it until the specific date. Presumably, you get credit for all the sales the day it gets delivered. It's a way to start off with a higher ranking, and hopefully stay there. This book will price at 99¢, so people might take a chance. Let me ask it a different way. Is there any reason I should not set my book of short stories up with a pre-order time period?


Filed under Writing

The Secret’s Out!

Time for a cover reveal. My dear friend Rachel produced the cover for Will O’ the Wisp. It’s only fair to let her reveal it. Please check it out at her blog and consider following this talented lady.

Rachel Carrera, Novelist

So you’ve all heard me talk about my good friend and blogging brother, Craig Boyack, before.  Craig is an awesome writer, and when he named his blog “Entertaining Stories,” I wonder if he knew just how right on the money that name would be.

Well, Craig and I have been sharing a secret that I’ve been dying to let out of the bag!  Now if your mind is in the gutter, get it out.  It’s not that kind of secret!  This secret has to do with an edge-of-your-seat story that Craig wrote called Will O’ the Wisp.

A few months ago, Craig graciously allowed me to beta read for him.  At the time, I really didn’t know that a will o’ the wisp was an actual thing, but rather, I thought it was a term he made up himself.  Knowing how much I love working with Photoshop, around the…

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Filed under Writing

Cover reveal for Charles’ newest title

Debuting December 12th on Amazon Kindle!


Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

After their battles in Gaia and surviving the Island of Pallice, the champions of Windemere are off on their next adventure.

In his quest to be a hero and help others, Luke Callindor has jumped into danger countless times and would do so again without hesitation. So when he is infected by the toxic Dark Wind, it is up to his friends to find a cure and keep his courage alive. With time running out and their enemies in the shadows, one ally will make the decision to share in Luke’s suffering and forge a bond that runs thicker than blood. Such a sacrifice might not be enough when the truth behind this living curse comes to light.

Will Luke find the strength to defeat the Dark Wind? What ghosts from his past will appear during his weakest hour?

About the Author:

Charles author photo B&WCharles Yallowitz was born and raised on Long Island, NY, but he has spent most of his life wandering his own imagination in a blissful haze. Occasionally, he would return from this world for the necessities such as food, showers, and Saturday morning cartoons. One day he returned from his imagination and decided he would share his stories with the world. After his wife decided that she was tired of hearing the same stories repeatedly, she convinced him that it would make more sense to follow his dream of being a fantasy author. So, locked within the house under orders to shut up and get to work, Charles brings you Legends of Windemere. He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you and his wife is happy he finally has someone else to play with.

Blog: Legends of Windemere
Twitter: @cyallowitz
Facebook: Charles Yallowitz

Read the Previous Volumes of Legends of Windemere!!!






























Filed under Writing

The Cock of the South

I hobbled through the basement at the writing cabin. I had to wait for a swarm of army ants to pass by. They’re a leftover story element from Panama.

Lisa* met me and handed me a gnarly root staff. It was shorter than Gandalf’s staff, and longer than a shillelaghs. Perfect for a cane. She also put an arm around me and helped me upstairs.

“Where’s Iris,”I asked. “We need to work on The Cock of the South.”

“She’s having a shower in the sink. She still can’t fly. That plant really did a number on her.” She let me loose at the top of the stairs. “I’ve got to hand out Halloween candy. The ghosts and goblins here, are real. We’ve even had Alabasters and other aliens.”

Iris’ voice rang out from the kitchen. “Give me a hand. I’m almost ready here.”

I turned to Lisa and raised an eyebrow.

“You wrote her that way. If she doesn’t care, why do you?”

I hobbled into the kitchen and tossed Iris, the fairy, a dish towel before turning off the water. She dried off and I carried her to the office where I wrote this story.

“We’re a pair, aren’t we? Me with my twisted wing, and you with your knee.”

“Yup. It’s almost time to publish this baby. I want to go over a few things with you before I launch it. The first thing was twisting the legend of Remus and Romulus. In this version, Remus won and founded the nation named after him.”


“Because I wanted to twist some facts around, and wanted to explain right away that this isn’t a history book.”

“So it’s fiction? It was real enough to me.”

“Well, yeah. Look, it’s a Greco Roman story. The Southern Dwarves are modeled loosely after the Greeks, and the Remsian’s are modeled after the Romans. Instant conflict.”

“Okay, but what about all the other characters? This thing has a cast of thousands.”

“Well, the dwarves are a failing society. So is everyone else, but Remus. The story takes a hang together or hang separately bent. I used a lot of fairy tale structure here too. Cobby is one of three brothers, and he’s the underdog. His father has three important positions, and Cobby must mimic all of them before he can succeed.”

“So I’m not there to prove it’s a fairy tale?”

“No. Your role is very important. I love dwarves, but they’ve been done quite a bit. Their society is pretty male oriented, and I needed some strong female characters too.”

“Oh you have plenty of those. There are a couple of dwarf ladies who are no nonsense, that centaur girl, and lets don’t forget the Amazons”

“So you think I’m on the right track here?”

Iris cast a watchful eye on Doubt, the raven. “I think you’re solid. Let’s see that cover.”

I opened the file on my iPad.


Iris looked it up and down. “Those are good likenesses of Cobby and Nikeas. The field of jars looks decent too. Gallicus looks perfect. I like the way he gives the cover a splash of color.”

“So it’s good?”

“Yeah, and it’s a lot better than that tile mosaic you were thinking about. The lettering sells it as Greco Roman. You don’t need the mosaic. So when’s the big day?”

“I don’t know. Maybe this weekend if I can get it done.”

Lisa ran into the office. “I need you guys to cover for me. I’m making a candy run. There are spaceships and haunted carriages all over the meadow. One candy each until I get back, and watch out for those Alabaster kids. One of them bit my hand, but he didn’t like the robotics inside.”

“Get on your bad motorscooter and ride. I see broomsticks in a holding pattern over the forest. Iris and I’ve got it until you get back.”

Lisa’s Harley roared to life and scattered a herd of goblins as she roared down the road.

Lisa is the main character in Wild Concept. She’s a robot and helps me around the writing cabin these days.

Iris is a supporting character from The Cock of the South. She’s a fairy about the size of my hand.

Alabasters are a dangerous species of alien. They appear in Arson.

The army ants that infest my basement appear in Panama.


Filed under Muse, Writing