Tag Archives: fiction

As authors, what do we do with it?

I’m in a quiet house this morning. My daughter is here, and she brought a Rottweiler puppy with her. These all belong to her room mate, and nobody seems to want this one. He’s cute as hell and they’re trying to give him away. I tried to snap a photo for you guys, but he’s kind of a perpetual motion machine. He looks more like a Black and Tan coonhound right now. They never got His tail docked, but I have a hunch this will change once he fills out. You’ll have to make due with Frankie and I.

As authors, we’re all kind of observant. There is a lot going on around us right now, and I wondered what to do with it all.

I remember my grandparents talking about quarantines and such. One of my grandmother’s sisters was quarantined at Ellis Island, because they thought she looked sickly. Grandma had to make her way to Utah alone. They were both children. I think grandma was eleven at the time, and her sister was a similar age. One parent in Wales, the other in Utah and they shipped them between the parents.

I’ve heard them talk about the kind of quarantines we see today, but always thought that was something for the history books. Something to use in one of my historical pieces, or maybe fantasy. Here we are in the 21st Century and living it. I told my son he should grab a couple of rolls of toilet paper and try to find a girlfriend this weekend. “Hey, baby. I have toilet paper.”

I added some quarantine issues to Viral Blues, but obviously got a few things wrong. I hope this doesn’t kill the enjoyment of the story. I had my quarantines limited to specific areas, and I never anticipated the hoarding and shortages that we’re seeing.

When I think about my Lanternfish project (70,000 words and growing) the Coronavirus isn’t going to make a difference. It’s set in a fantasy world, and nothing will have to change.

That may not be the case with my side project, currently called The Ballad of Mrs. Malony. (10,000 words and now what?) I dealt with some monsters in Viral Blues, but an intentional spreading of disease was the undertone of the story. This poses some issues for me. The Hat stories are set in the modern world. Sure it’s supernatural/paranormal, but in our world. I’ve already dealt with a virus in this series.

In the stories, Lizzie and the Pythons are a cover band that allows me to move them around the country to discover new paranormal adventures. Nice trick for an author. However, bands play in nightclubs. Those are all closed today. How realistic is it to have them doing this in their stories? I don’t want to trash what I’ve already created, but I have to admit the opportunity to show them out of work and have Lizzie bicker with The Hat over such things has merit. Maybe they have to deal with looters and riots. The Hat always said humans are the worst monsters of all.

Part of the problem is that I have long term plans for them. I have two and a half more books living in my head, and changing continuity of their story isn’t something I relish. I’m not saying it can’t be done, but it’s a great way to lose interest in writing them.

In a perfect world, this will all blow over in six months. I’ll look like a genius to future readers, because I have my virus story in the continuity of the characters, and nobody will check the publication dates and compare them to the current outbreak. Fun times for everyone, etc.

What about our future projects? Are all of the real world stories going to have to acknowledge the happenings of 2020? Our world will change because of this, whether it involves where people work, health insurance, vaccines, or any number of things. Our economy will change, too. Should we all hold off on real world settings until we see where we’re headed? It might seem odd to readers if the world looks like 2019, but they’re reading it in 2022. Maybe traditional things will become a page in the history books, and having fictional kids going door to door on Halloween will be an archaic reference. Big family Thanksgiving??? I think you can see where I’m going with this.

I decided years ago that any science fiction I write is better in the near future. I don’t think I write outer space all that well. Honestly, it’s okay not to be great at everything. Having some parameters on my imagination is a good thing. However, I have a nearly complete storyboard for a post apocalyptic story. The world tore itself apart, and I can draw from some of the things I see going on today. But, do I have to acknowledge 2020 in some small way? Today would be part of history in the setting this story will take place in.

You’ll probably see me around next week as I continue touring Grinders around. This is some of my near future science fiction, and doesn’t reference Coronavirus at all. It didn’t exist when I was writing it.

I’ve talked about my concerns with writing around the outbreak. I also have to admit it offers some new and realistic opportunity. Your super spy runs into a roadblock because the airports are closed. Cute romance involves a quarantine, but they both live in the same building. Heroic stories about coming up with a vaccine, or delivering one to a decimated area. There are some possibilities here. We can use the selfishness, create new forms of prejudice, add some riots, all of these make good story turns.

Since I’m rambling, here’s one more Boyack thought for you. When the media creates the next generation of heroes for us, I hope they skip over the sports stars, the box office heroes, and the musical starlets who can’t seem to wear enough clothes. Maybe there ought to be some space reserved for the scientists, the CDC workers, even the truck drivers, and those who are serving our elderly. I would watch their awards show.

Talk to me people. Do we need to rethink our works in progress? Are you excited to fictionalize the things you see going on today? Do we need to reassess what a real hero is? I know you’re all home, and if you’re reading blogs this weekend, I’d love to hear from you.

56 Comments

Filed under Writing

Life goes on

While I was touring my book around, the world didn’t stop spinning around here. I worked, and we had some unusual visitors at the office. This little guy was photographed from my office window.

He didn’t stay long, but it was fun having him stop by. We also had this visitor, and it’s appropriate for the season.

My iPhone makes it tough to photograph something so tiny, but you can make out his little bat ears at the bottom of the image. He’s only about the size of a walnut, but it was cool seeing him.

In other news, I got the sprinkler system blown out. Old What’s Her Face is on her way home, and we have an appointment to get the camper winterized tomorrow. It seems like winter is determined to show up, so we need to get ready.

I finished reading a book and posted a review. I try to review whatever I read. I look at it like a karma kind of thing. Authors need reviews, so I ought to post them, too. I’ll probably start reading another one before my vacation ends.

New fiction is still taking a back seat. I haven’t written a new word in a month. I’m struggling with the production vs the promotion cycle. I love creating new stories, but hate the promotion part. Honestly, I don’t like getting promotion stuff either, so I assume many people are like me. (Maybe you aren’t, but that’s my mindset right now.)

The questions I’m struggling with are:

  • Should I just bury some of the stories I write? Publish the series work, and keep the stand alone things for myself.
  • What about blog only? I know some who’ve done this, but have no idea what kind of reception it gets. Is it appropriate to release a few chapters over a period of months, then publish, thereby, skipping any blog tour and such? Does this piss people off more?
  • Should I publish them with zero promotion? I know how that works out, but workmanlike promo for every other story could still draw attention.
  • I’ve learned how to write an incredible amount of new fiction. Should I go back to my old ways and produce less?
  • Would it be worthwhile to hold stories, then do a multiple book release with mutual promotion?

I’m interested in what you guys think, so speak up. Do you have any experience with these methods?

44 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized, Writing

Something Wicked presents: Fatal Attractions

Joan Hall is with us today. I first met Joan when she joined Story Empire, and she’s a powerful addition to the team. I’ve read some of the Driscoll Lake series, and enjoyed every bit of it. I need to finish the rest of it, and it’s on my list.

Make Joan feel welcome today, and feel free to use those sharing buttons on her behalf. I know she’d do it for you if you were on tour.

***

Hello, everyone. It’s a pleasure to be here for Story Empire’s Something Wicked Tour. Craig, thanks for hosting me on this final day.


Jealousy is a powerful emotion that is often hard for some people to control. In some cases, it can lead people to do unthinkable things, up to and including murder.

A Belgian woman killed her sky-diving partner because of a love triangle. A Florida man, Brian Bates, murdered his ex-wife when he learned she’d began dating again. A Miami high school student killed his best friend because of jealousy. The list goes on.

In Unclear Purposes, the third and final book of the Driscoll Lake Series a jealous person is set on revenge. They won’t allow anything or anyone to stand in the way of getting what they want. Curious? Here’s an excerpt from the book.

Excerpt:

Some occasions required a person to be an extrovert. To mingle with the crowd. Other times one needed to blend into the background. Being able to disguise oneself had its advantages. The ability to be virtually unrecognizable.

Tonight was a time to remain hidden. To observe.

Three couples sat at a table close to the stage. It was a cozy little scene with lots of interaction among them. The women each had a distinct beauty, the men all tall and handsome. Talk about standing out in a crowd.

Who wouldn’t envy the brunette and her six-foot-four husband? Or the auburn-haired physician and her successful man? But the third couple was the most intriguing.

What exactly was between them? Casual friendship? Something more? The desire to know had been festering for several weeks. It was the reason for tonight’s visit to Pinnacle. To confirm what was already feared.

It didn’t take long to determine the answer. The way Christine and Vince danced together wasn’t something casual friends would do.

When the song ended, Rachel Nichols whispered something to them before leaving the floor with her husband. Whatever it was, caused a change in Vince. It wasn’t hard to see he had gone into alert mode as if looking for something or someone.

Careful. He’s been in law enforcement. Trained to be observant. Wouldn’t take much for him to notice something out of the ordinary.

The inner battle began.

Calm down. Breathe. There’s no way anyone would recognize you. Still, it’s probably best you leave. Your mission is accomplished. You’ve got the information you came for.

The relationship between Christine Lawrence and Vince Green would have to end. There were lots of ways to ensure that would happen. But when it came down to it, there was only one way to guarantee success.

Blurb:

Some people take secrets to the grave…

Three years after her husband’s murder, Christine Lawrence still struggles for balance. She has a rewarding career and a close circle of friends but feels oddly unfulfilled. Worse, the close relationship she once had with her teenage daughter has grown increasingly strained.

Former FBI agent, Vince Green, is battling demons of his own—painful secrets that drove him from Driscoll Lake. Newly resettled in the small town, he makes his living as a private investigator.

When Vince and Christine cross paths, stumbling over the body of a murder victim, he’s forced to confront memories he thought long buried. The circumstances surrounding the killing are eerily similar to a victim from his past.

As the body count continues to rise, Christine finds herself drawn to Vince. With a murderer stalking the streets of Driscoll Lake, neither is aware the killer has targeted her as the next victim—or that Vince’s past is key to unmasking a disturbed and deadly killer.

Universal Purchase Link

Connect with Joan:

Website | Blog | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | BookBub

26 Comments

Filed under Writing

Some Teaser Fun

It’s about time to run out another teaser on my way toward publication. Turn on the music, ponder the poster, and contemplate what might be headed your way for the Halloween season.

As always, Lisa makes for great Pinterest pins. Tell your friends, etc.

 

Lisa Burton

30 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized, Writing

Naming characters

I kind of left you guys hanging. Work was busy this week, so when I got home in the evenings I was too tired to work on much.

This weekend is a self-imposed slow burn. I’m dabbling with reading Serang to make sure I can understand it before I share it with the world. I’ve also started reading a novel. I’m way behind on my reading and will try to remedy some of this over the next month.

I intend to do the edits on Serang, then work through The Viral Blues the same way without hitting it too hard.

Honestly, I’ve been working on fiction at an accelerated pace and feel the need for a slow stretch.

In order to keep this interesting, I want to talk about naming characters again. Older posts indicate I still have my daughter’s graduation program to pick from, and I frequently glance at the Major League Baseball rosters for the same reason.

One source I’ve wanted to use has kind of dried up. Phonebooks are a great roster of names. They’ve gotten hard to come by lately, so I decided to keep our local one this year.

All of the online directories do some amazing things. They do almost everything, except for what I need. You can’t just flip through names and check them out.

As an author, naming characters is important. We all know some common last names, like Smith or Jones, but not every character can have the common names.

This is the new Boise telephone directory, and it’s kind of amazing. This book used to be three inches thick, and came with a second volume that was about two inches. Things have changed.

Nobody has a land line anymore. Yellow Pages are no longer the advertising necessity they used to be. Abe demonstrates this pretty well. Keep in mind the white and yellow pages are included in this one book.

Sometimes you need a great name for a fictional business. Browsing the phone book can help here too. Maybe we come up with our own fictitious name, but it’s nice to get some inspiration from somewhere.

I’ve made two different trips to New Orleans and intended to get a telephone book each times. Both times I failed. I want this one because of the diversity. I’d like to get a swath of Cajun, Creole, American Indian, and French names to browse. It’s a big enough city to offer the diversity of many other cultures, but the regional names are a bonus.

Recently, I found a source that might be able to send me one. Fingers crossed. I’m counting on other people here so I might have to keep chipping away at it.

Until then, I still have my traditional sources, plus this Boise directory.

52 Comments

Filed under Writing

Unclear Purposes Blog Tour

Joan is a good friend, and has the final book of her trilogy available right now. She’s also one of my compatriots over at Story Empire. Make her feel welcome and share her excerpt across your social media. Joan, the floor is yours.

Craig, thank you for hosting me today and helping to spread the word about my new release with your readers. Unclear Purposes is the third and final book of the Driscoll Lake Series.

The male lead in this book is a former FBI agent turned PI. He has a few secrets. Let’s learn a little more about Vince Green.

 

Excerpt:

“Good morning, Agent Green.”

Vince’s eyes narrowed. “Tami Sutton. What brings you here today?”

“Came to see you, of course.”

“It’s been a while since anyone referred to me as Agent Green.”

She cast a glance around the office. “Nice place you have here. Small but efficient. Good location.”

“Suits my purpose. But I gather you’re not here to discuss my place of business.” Vince sat on the corner of his desk.

He was straightforward and to the point. Tami liked that. “You’re right. I want you to do a job for me. Money’s good…”

“…Why not hire someone who lives in New Mexico? Or even San Antonio?”

“Because I believe you’re the best suited for the job. I’ve checked your background, so I know about a certain incident in Alpine. It turns out, we have something in common.”

Vince’s jaw tightened. “That isn’t a subject up for discussion.”

“No? Then I won’t mention it again. But I think you’ll agree we have the same goal.”

“How’s that?”

“Like me, you want answers and are willing to take risks to get them. So much it cost you a promising career.”

“Leaving the FBI was my choice.”

“That’s not what I heard.”

 

Blurb:

Some people take secrets to the grave…

Three years after her husband’s murder, Christine Lawrence still struggles for balance. She has a rewarding career and a close circle of friends but feels oddly unfulfilled. Worse, the close relationship she once had with her teenage daughter has grown increasingly strained.

Former FBI agent, Vince Green, is battling demons of his own—painful secrets that drove him from Driscoll Lake. Newly resettled in the small town, he makes his living as a private investigator.

When Vince and Christine cross paths, stumbling over the body of a murder victim, he’s forced to confront memories he thought long buried. The circumstances surrounding the killing are eerily similar to a victim from his past.

As the body count continues to rise, Christine finds herself drawn to Vince. With a murderer stalking the streets of Driscoll Lake, neither is aware the killer has targeted her as the next victim—or that Vince’s past is key to unmasking a disturbed and deadly killer.

Universal Purchase Link

Website and Social Media Links:

Website   |  Goodreads  | Twitter   |  Facebook   |   Pinterest    | Instagram   |   BookBub

40 Comments

Filed under Writing

Springtime in Idaho, plus a bit of luck

Yesterday was a travel day for me. This means my only job was to get to Lewiston and check into my room. I have a presentation to make for work today. I’ll go over my presentation materials in a few minutes.

While I’m waiting for the hotel to place out continental breakfast it seems like a decent time to update my blog.

Springtime in Idaho is a beautiful time. I saw animals all the way here. There were pheasants, turkeys, both mule deer and white tails. I even saw a bald eagle over the Salmon River.

Mostly though, Idaho Spring means construction. I passed through three construction zones yesterday with lengthy stops by flaggers. I even got to see one car who must have blown past the flagger at the far end, because he nearly had a head on collision with the pilot car I was following. Good times. There were two more construction zones, but they were monitored by those construction stop lights that are showing up more frequently. Only one rock hit my windshield and it didn’t chip.

Just past Grangeville, I got to watch a crop duster working. These guys always amaze me. Their acrobatic stunts are better than an air show. He was working close to the highway, and I almost ducked when he flew over my truck. I’m pretty sure I’m free of fleas and ticks now.

Since my only task was to get here, I decided to leave early. I was on the road by six am. My intent was to score some writing time if possible.

You can laugh if you want, but bald eagles have always brought me luck. Whatever my goal was, the sighting of an eagle insured success. This is what happened yesterday.

Serang and her master were still on that river. At this point in the story, they’ve been traveling a lot. There were lessons to learn along the way, and some cool creatures and scenery, but this is a novel not a travelogue.

I decided to tell a bit, jumping the story ahead by weeks and months. They sold their boat, marched back into the mountains, and met up with the only other living monk as far as they know. We made a fun stop at a blacksmith’s shop along the way. The elder monk also taught Serang an important lesson about the tigers she seems so enamored with.

Considering I haven’t been able to write any new fiction for a month now, I’m pretty happy. It came to 4010 new words I didn’t have before. Thank you Mr. Eagle.

When I called Old What’s Her Face last night, I learned that we’re going to have company again this weekend. That kills any writing time for Saturday or Sunday. I have a flex day in there, so maybe I’ll score some time then.

Or maybe, I’ll see another eagle on my way home today.

40 Comments

Filed under Writing