Tag Archives: Guest posts

The power of a positive attitude

The day started off with She Who Cannot Stop Taking and all the problems she had with her job. It would be pretty easy to blame a non-productive day on her, but I wasn't taking the bait.

This lasted for about two hours, and damnit, I understand. I've held a job since I was thirteen. (1973 for those keeping score.) Sometimes the job is a pain in the butt.

I wanted to go through the the multitude of emails, and honestly, I shut her down to a degree and did it anyway. My wife always sleeps late on Saturday's, and this is my prime writing time. I was a little upset, but kept my mouth shut about it.

While she jabbered on about life in general, I decided to print out my critiques. Only one of three worked, and I had to ask the other two to send a different format. They were happy to do this, but I could have ended my day right there and blamed all my problems on circumstance. This is where the positive attitude kicked in. The guys provided an alternate format, and I printed all of them out. I even managed to finish one of them. We meet Tuesday, so I need to make these a priority.

I have a lot of things on my list, and knew some of them could get done anyway. I've worked myself into a catch 22 on The Yak Guy project. This is my novel, and I'm so used to this kind of problem that it's old hat. I want Yak Guy to face a larger problem. I want him to have limited resources when he does. Then I want him to achieve a goal he doesn't even know he has. The problem comes from needing the goal to happen before he achieves it. I'm probably not explaining it well, but it happens in every novel length project. I'll think about it and come up with something. I always do. The basic thought for this post is that it isn't time to be working on the novel. Some serious thought is required here. Getting it wrong now will cause problems four chapters down the line.

This is the beauty of having other projects on the side. My short fiction is a godsend this way.

I wound up getting some new Lisa Burton art in the morning email today. (Surprise! Two weeks before I expected it.) This has to do with my next crazy promotional adventure. I'm not ready to announce it today, but it required me to set some things in motion. This involved sending out a pile of emails. By creating a form, I easily achieved this goal. I'm really excited about this project, and several more of you might be hearing from me in the next few days.

My wife took my daughter to town this afternoon. I knew better than to tear into my novel, but I have a short story that I've been working on for weeks. This came in a more manageable portion, so I opened the file and went to work. I finished the rough draft of the short story. It came in at about 3200 words. I'm relatively happy with it, and would like to include it in a future Experimental Notebook.

After I finished this draft, I edited one of the guest posts I'd been working on, and made it into something more palatable. I even wrote a different one from scratch. These are about The Playground, which I'll be publishing soon. At some point, I'll need to have some guest posts ready for the street team, and need to keep working on them. Still, some progress is better than no progress.

When my wife returned she announced that it was time for date night. We went to the Yardhouse for dinner and beer. I had one of my favorite beers, Anderson Valley Wild turkey Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout. It's a mouthful, but it's absolutely wonderful. I switched to Belgians after that one, and had a sour, and a Belgian Quad. Quad means four times the alcohol. If this post winds up intelligible, blame it on the Belgians. The people, their beer, the whole country actually.

For supper, I had a crab and lobster omelette. It was wonderful too. My wife ordered a turkey pot pie. Check out this picture. It had to be about 16 inches wide, and was more suitable for her and about four friends. She was embarrassed when they delivered it, and that brought me great joy. I snapped a picture to commemorate the event.

Yes, she texts at the table

She did her best, but some of it came home. It's open season for someone tonight, and our son might get it. If he doesn't, a part of it is destined for the old pitbull tomorrow morning.

All in all, a positive attitude prevailed. I got my next crazy project launched, I finished a short story that I've been struggling with, and I knocked out a portion of my critique chores. I even managed some progress on Playground promo material. There's always more to do, but I'm pretty excited about the way things turned out. We even managed a wonderful date night.

 

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What shall we talk about?

I had an idea about a bullet pointed gripe session tonight. Then one of my favorite bloggers posted something similar. Anything I would write would pale in comparison.

This blog has been kind of negative this week, and I need to turn a corner anyway. I'm focusing on the eagle I saw and moving forward with a good attitude.

I need to dedicate some time to reading critique submissions and marking them up. I also need to dedicate some time to reading, but I can probably sneak the reading and critiquing around the quality writing opportunities.

Depending on what chances I get, I can work on my novel or a short story. The novel has reached the middle slog, and I've written about that before. I always make a good start, and I know how it ends. The middle involves moving the players around, dealing with plants & payoffs, and making sure my main character is progressing along his arc. It's slower going and my style may always be that way.

Short stories are different. The giant character arc isn't required. It's more about a single event, and if I'm lucky a twist ending. I have one in progress, and a long list of topics.

I still need to address some tour posts too. I want a dozen items about The Playground in the hopper. Then when the book is ready I'll actually have something for the street team to post. These are easier to write, and I can append a blurb and some links to make a reasonable word count. I can write these even with distractions going on around me.

I really enjoy this stuff, and that's the whole thing here. I'm going to take some time for my projects, but not all the time.

We will find a way to have date night too. My rotating day off is Monday and there could be some good opportunities there too.

I'm looking forward to my weekend, and I hope you are too.

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Tomorrow, there’s always tomorrow

I spent most of my time setting up some guest posts that you'll be seeing over the next ten days. There are some really cool authors stopping by, and I expect you to check out their wares.

This stuff is important, because there will come a time when we need to step out and promote our own books. I'll be doing that very soon.

I also wrote one guest post involving Lorelei my Muse. I'll offer it to one of my street team members first when I'm ready to launch The Playground. It still needs links that I won't have until I pre-publish.

I'm cooking up ideas for other guest posts to keep them all a bit different. Lisa has some fun new posters to go along with The Playground, so I need some posts from her point of view too. It seems like I can write these even with distractions. While my wife watches American Idol or something, I can hack out 500 words or so.

I've wanted to get back into graphic novels for a long time now. I have some real classics from before the advent of the ebook, but haven't bought one since. I promised myself that I would read at least one this year, and I broke down and ordered a paper one.

I'm a little bit disappointed that I can't get it electronically. Maybe if I'd have shopped harder, I could have found something in electronic format.

It was the artwork that drew me to this one, and I don't mind telling you that I'm always on the lookout for Lisa ideas too. Madame Mirage has some powerful girl art, and maybe I can find something to keep Lisa's image up to snuff. Still, a computer generated super heroine, sounds like it has something going for it.

You guys have no idea what I go through to keep Lisa updated. I even have clothing sites bookmarked just in case something might work for her. My search history must look pretty dicey to any NSA agent who checks it out.

Speaking of my browsing history, I also wrote a murder short story last night. I'm pretty happy with it, but there is no speculative element involved. That kind of leaves it homeless in a way. I could post it here, or save it for Macabre Macaroni next October. Either way, I had a blast writing it, and will do something with it eventually. I'll claim word count in the 2200 class, so some writing happened.

Yup, NSA must think I'm either a pervert, a poof, or a murderer. When the black helicopters come I have no idea what island they'll put me on.

Tomorrow is the day. Yak Guy better be ready, because I have plans for him.

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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.

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Time for my 2015 business plan

It’s time for that business plan that I’ve been hinting about. The Happy New Years, and resolutions have all faded. I waited since I didn’t want this one washed away in the stream. Warning: I’ve been trying to keep the word count down, but this is a longer post. It’s important stuff to me.

I’m going to recap 2014, briefly. My goal was to self publish four older stories. I achieved this in October. I never expected a ton of success, because I was completely unknown. Still, success was there. Outside this blog, and the Rave Reviews Book Club catalog, I didn’t do any promotion.

The unexpected things were the most fun of all. When Lisa was named best character of 2014 by Karen I about fell off my Bantha. I know how much Karen reads, and this was the highlight of my year.

I was asked to guest post on several other blogs, and these are a ton of fun. I was also asked to host a few people, and this works out well too. I’ll be doing more of this in 2015.

I was surprised by my first fan art, which involved Lisa the robot at a comics convention. Lisa also appeared in a fan fiction with my blessing. I also won a spotlight author spot with Rave Reviews Book Club. I learned a lot from this experience.

I really enjoyed loaning some of my characters out and would do so again. Appearing elsewhere in 2014 were Doubt the Raven, Lisa Burton the robot, and Lorelei my Muse.

It’s time to formulate a plan for 2015. I’m going to be informal about this, because writing is my leisure project.

I have a manuscript that’s ready to go. I want to give The Cock of the South a bit more time as the newest book, because it deserves it. It’s a good story, and it’s too close to the blog tour to cut it off at the knees. The publishing goal is late winter/early spring.

This one is a return to paranormal, and it’s called Will ‘O the Wisp. I’m not going to just plunk it on Amazon and walk away. I’ve learned some things from 2014 and want to apply them.

I’m willing to send out advance reading copies right now. All I ask is that participants have an honest review ready to go by publication date. Those reviews are uber important. If you want one, hit me up in the comments. I’m willing to reciprocate with many genres. I can forward PDF, ePub, Word, or Pages formats. Just let me know.

WOW is set in the 1970s and involves a teenage girl whose very life is in danger. She’s perfectly prepared for the wrong challenge. This involves me writing in first person from the POV of a 15 year old girl. Challenging? Yup. It may also be the best story I’ve ever written. It’s suitable for young adults.

I also have a rocking cover for this book, and will forward it to those who participate, providing you keep it top secret. I’d prefer to offer WOW to my blog followers first, but might have to approach some new people depending on numbers. I’m going to ask the cover artist to reveal it on her blog first. Then I can reblog the heck out of it.

I’m going to write a dozen or more blog posts for WOW ahead of time. That way I can take it on tour without all the deadline stress. I may hire 4Wills to handle the blog tour, I may try it myself. I’ll decide later.

I also need to sweet talk S. K. Nichols into sending me the name of that promotional company she used. I like to try new things, and she had good results with them.

I have a second story I’d like to put out in the fall. If I can get it ready, I’ll follow the same recipe as above, unless I learn something better.

I need to improve my social media approach. Social media takes a lot of time, but it must be done. I still have no interest in Facebook, but I’m going to give Goodreads a try. I’ve heard good and bad about it, but everything is that way. I’ll blog about it when I’ve done it, and am accepting all tips right now.

I also have a fun idea for promotions on my blog. I’ve already entered a contract with my Wild Concept cover artist for some custom pieces. More on this later. Maybe I can coerce him into a guest post.

This might be a guy thing, maybe not. I hate giving up the front and regrouping. I’ve learned so much since my older stories were written that I’m pretty sure I could do a better job today. The Army never goes back and puts the knickknacks back on the shelves. They keep moving forward. Should I revisit my old stories at the expense of my current work in progress? This might help me with points in the author world, but it would make me unhappy. Thoughts? Suggestions?

I think I need business cards. My wife and I go out quite a bit. Leaving a card along with the tip, could be beneficial. Pinning it to a bulletin board could also bear fruit. I’ve heard from other authors that this stuff helps. I’m open to any hints from the writing community.

There is a ton of research I intend to do. I own some valuable old hardbacks that I need to browse once more. I wrote a vignette about some people in Africa that keeps calling to me. They have everything they need except a story. Some of my books are Death in the Long Grass, Green Hell, Man-Eaters of Kumaon, Man-Eaters of Tsavo, Bell of Africa, and Wanderings of an Elephant Hunter.

Those aren’t all set in Africa, but I can snipe from them. I seem to remember one about Karamojo Bell hunting for the Battleship Konigsburg. I think that one was corrupted into The African Queen. Better re-watch that too. I should probably brush up on the Boer wars while I’m at it.

Those ought to provide my Muse with a jolt of adrenaline. Obviously, this would be an historical piece, with some of my weirdness of course. Maybe I can get some ideas for one of the other vignettes I posted about the guy with a talking yak.

Speaking of research, does anyone know of a decent book about alchemy? I don’t want an encyclopedia, more of the “for dummies” version. I think the world could use a mad science story. I don’t have a specific plan, but it can’t be all about the philosopher’s stone. It seems to me there were some Frankenstein type projects too. Send me some recommendations.

I’m bouncing back and forth between two ideas. One is a book of short stories. I could separate each story with a Macabre Macaroni type page. The other idea is to publish a bundle with one each, science fiction, paranormal, and fantasy. I could let it run for 30 days at 99ยข then unpublish it. I may do both, or neither. Has anyone out there got any data on success with these methods?

***

I know some of you have published bundles or books of short stories. I know some of you live in Africa. Some of you are Goodreads members.

I love the comments I get on this blog, but this time I want more. I really want to hear from you guys on this post. Do you want an ARC of Will ‘O the Wisp? Do you have any Goodreads tips? Have you found a good alchemy book that can kick my Muse in the pants? Have you read any of my archaic old collectables? Would you re-edit your old stories at the expense of forward momentum? Who has experience with business cards, good or bad? Let me hear from you.

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