Tag Archives: Halloween

Is a tragedy acceptable today?

I stayed up until midnight playing video games with my son. I knew I'd pay for it today, but did it anyway.

Frankie, the alarm dog, got me up at 4:30. I should be overjoyed that she gave me twenty minutes longer than my alarm clock usually does. It's a flex day, so maybe I'll grab a nap this after noon.

I hacked out another micro-fiction while the dogs managed to go back to sleep. Then I grabbed a fresh coffee and sat beside the footboard of my bed.

A slurping noise moved from the darkness to just the other side of the footboard. A black tentacle slid a Nylabone out on the floor beside me.

“Black is a new look for you, isn't it?”

“Oh, you know me. Always trying something new. I think it makes me scarier in the dark.”

“You could be onto something. Things you can't quite see are more frightening. What's with the dog toy?”

“Oh, Frankie and Otto were tugging at it yesterday and it flew under the bed. I thought she might need it back.”

“Not for much longer. I think her puppy teeth are almost all gone now.”

“Good thing too. Those babies are sharp. I had to steal a Bandaid while you guys were sleeping.”

“No problem, that's why they're there.”

“So what brings you to talk to the old under-the-bed monster today?”

“Tragedy.”

“You're going to have to be more specific.”

“Okay, tragedy is a time honored kind of story. When done well, it produces a powerful emotional experience for the reader–“

“Right a PEE, I read your blog. Too funny.”

“As I was going to say, it seems to be out of favor today.”

“Times change and all that.”

“Maybe they do, but maybe they shouldn't. Not everyone gets a happily-ever-after in real life. Fiction should reflect real life.”

“Riiiight. You write stories about spacemen, witches, and dwarves.”

“Okay, but I try to get real human emotions into them.”

“You still haven't told me what specifically brings you here today.”

“I nearly wrote a Greek tragedy a few years ago with The Cock of the South. I chickened out, and didn't completely go that route. Well, I've gone and done it again.”

“And you're worried it will make people mad. You're looking at it from the wrong side of the mirror. For every one of those happy endings, a monster dies somewhere. Do you know how many of my friends are hanging around the Union Hall just waiting for another story?”

“How many?”

“All of em, and they aren't going to get another story because the author killed them off.”

“Don't you guys always manage to stick a hand out of the grave right at the end, or open your eyes suddenly?”

“Only in horror. Not every monster story is technically a horror story.”

“That's all great, and I appreciate that monsters would understand, but they don't buy many books these days.”

“So it's a commercial thing?”

“Not exactly, it's a story for my blog.”

“Now you're just being stupid. Those things have the lifespan of a gnat. Eight hours later the readership forgets all about them.”

“Maybe they do, and maybe they don't. They don't swarm back and re-read the posts, but the story might stick with them.”

“Yeah, that's a good point. Is this for your macaroni thing?”

“It's called Macabre Macaroni, and yeah.”

“Maybe you can bracket it with something happy on either side. End with one that isn't a tragedy. They always remember the last one.”

“So bury it in the middle somewhere?”

“That's my opinion.”

“Thanks Under-The-Bed Monster, I owe you one.”

“You owe me several, but who's counting.”

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The Last Day of October

Hey all, it's Nevada Day. We used to get the day off from school and everything when I was a kid. Of course, I grew up in Nevada.

It's also Halloween, of course. Do you know how awesome it was to get Halloween off from school every year?

Alright, enough reminiscing. Time for some promotion. I promised myself I'd do some promo all during October. This is the one I never planned upon. See, I signed up for a couple of book blasts and one of them requires a sale. They suggested 99¢ or free.

I elected to make Will O' the Wisp free for one day to support the book blasts. I'm kind of spastic, so it will probably extend to November 1st. For a little bit of insight as to why I chose free, visit my turn at the blog over at Story Empire. This is where I assess my personal promotional efforts throughout the month, and it's aimed more at authors.

I set this up through Amazon.com and Amazon.UK. The promo just isn't an option elsewhere. Here are the universal links for the book: North American Continent http://a-fwd.com/asin-com=B00UPH6BNS Rest of the world http://a-fwd.com/asin-com=B00UQNDT2C

I promise this will be the last promotional thing for a while. I dedicated October to this process, and I have to see it through.

Will O' the Wisp is the journey of Patty Hall. She's a teenager growing up in the 1970s in rural Virginia.

Patty has to deal with being a teenager and growing up with a mild handicap. She faces all the social stigmas you might expect, and then there is the odd thing in the woods trying to kill her.

Take a chance on Will O' the Wisp for the price of free. I doubt it will ever be this low again.

Thanks for putting up with me through all of this. A writer has to do this from time to time, and I'm looking forward to getting back to my writing in November.

 

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It’s Lisa Burton, on Lisa Burton Radio #RRBC

Welcome to another edition of Lisa Burton Radio, the show where we talk to the characters that bring the stories to life. I'm your host, Lisa the robot girl, and I find myself without a guest again.

Several of you sent in emails that you thought a show where I talk about myself would be a good idea. It's not the normal kind of show, but I'm going to go with it for this week. In fact, I have an idea involving your emails, and I'll talk about it toward the end of the show.

I have a bunch of interviews lined up, but you know how authors are, they want to time them for the book release, or a big promotion they have coming up. I don't blame them, I was in a story or two myself. I'm always looking for characters to interview, so don't be afraid to drop me a line. This page has all the important deets. Yeah, I'm a robot, I can speak in html.

I've done a lot in my short time here. My origin story is in the novel, Wild Concept. Craig also loaned me out to the lovely Karen at My Train of Thoughts on. Karen let me flex some of my forensics skills to help her character out with an investigation.

Craig let me move into the writing cabin where I help him with his stories. This usually involves making coffee, but he also lets me download voices and help him with dialog. As his personal assistant, I make arrangements for his blog tours, discounts, and other promotions.

A couple of years ago he promoted me to spokesmodel for his writing career. This usually involves spending time with the artist and having some promotional posters made. I've dropped these off with blogs all over the world when visiting them to promote the newest book. To be honest, I've gathered up some sweet outfits this way.

Craig let me have a short story in his first Experimental Notebook, and I got to fill in for a bomb defusing robot that sunk in a river. Every once in a while it's great to use some of my skills beyond secretarial and clerical.

To be honest, with Craig working a full time job, and writing on his off days, I have a lot of free time around the cabin. This is why I scored the old Airstream and turned it into a radio station. My shows are some of the most popular on this blog, and they usually get a lot of shares. I've gotten email from authors who sold well on the day of the broadcast.

I've interviewed some dark lords, ghosts, a super spy, a shipwreck victim, a cat burglar, a drite, and even a lawyer. Just, so many cool characters. I'd love to interview your character too.

Lately I've been working on the release of the Second Experimental Notebook, including going on an extensive blog tour myself. Then I set up all the Halloween promotions and discounts.

Between Craig's fits of writing, it can get lonely out at the cabin. I mean, I have great wifi and Amazon will deliver anything I buy online. Still, it's nice to chat with people once in a while. So here's my next idea.

Does anyone out there want me to ask your questions on the air? If we could get enough of them, I might make a show where I answer your questions. You know, something like this: “Little Johnny, from Port Aransas, wants to know if I always dress this way around the writing cabin, and he's asking for a friend.”

I'd even be willing to include a link to your blog or Facebook in the questions. That way I could stockpile them for when I don't have a guest, but when I read them on the air, you would still get a link out there.

Okay, enough about that. It's almost Halloween and Craig and I always enjoy that. Even if it's quiet here, he can have a pumpkin beer and we can listen to the wolves howl at night. I've gathered up a few Halloween themed posters over the years, and I think I'll share them with you again. They make great backgrounds on your iPads and cell phones. I'll include them on the website.

For Lisa Burton Radio, I'm Lisa Burton — and send me your characters to interview.

***

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Last scoop of Macabre Macaroni this year

The Zombie Fighters

We stood back to back in the old basement. Joey held his sword off to his left, and I held mine up with the blade in front of my face. We made a deadly team, but the zombie horde upstairs would be the biggest one we’d ever faced.

Joey turned his San Diego Padres cap around backwards. “Ready?”

“As I’ll ever be.” I rushed the stairway with Joey at my heels.

The zombies almost looked surprised. I probably imagined it, because they don’t have any emotions or feelings. They’d already eaten half the families in town, and I recognized a few of them as having been local people. I stepped into the shell of the burned out house and made sure to move far enough that Joey could support me.

I lowered my sword and thrust through the face of the first one, making sure to slice on the draw so my blade wouldn’t get stuck. He fell in a heap of stinking rotten flesh, and I swung at one to my right.

Joey gave a masterful stroke, slicing completely through one Zombie and into the skull of the one beside it. “That was my Tony Gwynn swing, you bastards.”

“Looks like you hit a double. There’s home runs waiting in the other room.”

We worked our way through the sooty kitchen and into the living room. Seventeen of the damned things greeted us there.

The fight was long and bloody. Joey went to his knees, but I rescued him before he got bitten. That only left the upstairs bedrooms to clear. Should be a breeze after what we’d already accomplished.

Joey led the way up this staircase, and we took care to avoid the ledge. The fire destroyed the railing and it was a long drop.

We kicked open doors and slashed our way room by room until we were the only things left standing.

The last room looked like it must have been the master bedroom. The fire damaged it more than the others. Even the exterior wall and roof were gone.

I tested the floor with each step. No sense surviving the zombies and falling through a crumbling floor. I looked out towards town, and everything was quiet as the sun dipped behind a ridge. More zombies moved though the forest, and they were coming our way.

Joey grabbed a ruined pillowcase and hung it from a nail.

“What’s that for?”

“It’s our flag. This is where we make our stand. If we get split up, we meet back here.”

“Good idea. This can be our fort.” I dropped my stick-sword onto the sooty floor. “Only we’ll have to defend it tomorrow.”

“But they’re almost here.”

I wrapped an arm around my brother’s shoulder. “The street lights came on. You know how mom gets if we don’t go home right away. Schools out now, we have all summer to defend our fort.”

***

This is my reminder that I have two books of short stories and micro-fiction available. There are plenty of Halloween suitable stories among these pages.

The best news is they are only 99¢ each. If you enjoyed Macabre Macaroni this year, maybe these books are what you’re looking for.

Book one

Book two

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Will O’ the Wisp, on Lisa Burton Radio #RRBC

Lisa Burton

Welcome to another edition of Lisa Burton Radio. I’m your host, Lisa Burton the robot girl, and my very special guest today is Patty Hall. “Welcome to the show, Patty.”

“Thank you Miss Burton, it’s an honor to be here.”

“Oh please, call me Lisa. Tell our audience how old you are.”

“Okay, Lisa, I’m fifteen and live in rural Virginia. High School class of 1978, if I make it.”

“We’ll get to that last remark in a minute. You live with a certain disability, why don’t you tell our listeners about that. If that’s okay.”

“It’s alright. My mother makes me wear corrective leg braces. They aren’t any worse than lots of other people, and it’s embarrassing to wear them. They’ve made me a social outcast at school.”

“I wouldn’t exactly say that. You seem to have some pretty solid friends to me.”

“Pete and Laura are the best. I suppose if that’s all the friends I can have, at least I have the best.”

“I think so too. Now, you ran into a bit of trouble out in the forest, what’s that all about.”

“We’re all into star gazing. We like to look at the constellations, planets, satellites, that kind of thing. One night we saw this glowing green thingie floating through the woods. It attacked this college boy who was camping for the night. It was terrible.”

“It sounds horrible. Did you ever determine what it was?”

“It’s called a Will O’ the Wisp, and it’s more awful than you think. It went into this boy’s body and made him sick. It controlled him and made him kill my uncle. Then it made the boy drown on dry land. It’s hard to explain, but it’s like his body filled up with water and killed him.

“And that’s not the worst of it. Another one attacked one of my Mom’s friends, and she’s trying to kill me.”

“Have you told anyone about it? Maybe there’s some kind of protection available.”

“Are you kidding me. Pete and I both saw it, but nobody is going to believe us. Laura says she does, but I can tell she’s trying to be a friend. My mother would have me talking to a shrink so fast– I mean, I’m thinking about running away, but I’m afraid it would follow me.”

“You mean your mom’s friend?”

“Yeah, her, but if she drowns I think there will be another one.”

“What will you do?”

“I don’t know, I think it must be alien, but that’s as much as I know. It isn’t like H. G. Well’s virus is showing up to kill off the aliens for me. All I know is that it came from up Bergamot Holler. If I can find where it comes from, I might figure out how to stop it. Except my mother wants me to stay away from Bergamot Holler. She says weird things happen up there. I found out some of my ancestors died up there too, and one of them drowned on dry land.

“I mean, what if there’s an alien ship buried up there and they’re mad at my family? I don’t know. It’s all making my hair fall out, and my nose bleed.”

“It sounds dangerous to me too. It would be hard walking through the woods with leg braces, then doing it at night with something dangerous in the woods.”

“I’m kind of used to it. The woods are where we watch for satellites. My mother is making me wear these things to the Homecoming dance. I don’t even want to go, but she’s forcing me. It’s embarrassing to show up without a date. I mean, who’s going to ask the girl with braces? Then if anyone dances with me it will just be to make a joke or show off to their friends.”

“Maybe she knows you can’t go back and do it later. High School is kind of a one shot deal.”

“No thank you. I’d rather wait until college. I’ll be out of these stupid braces then. That’s assuming I live that long.”

“So what would you study?”

“I want to be an astronaut. Bent legs won’t make any difference in space, and they might even be an advantage. The Soviets have lady Cosmonauts, how much longer can the US hold out? I think if I work hard, I could be one of the first ones.”

“I think you can too, if you study hard. In the mean time, get some help and try to avoid the Will O’ the Wisp.”

“It’s not the wisp that’s trying to kill me. It’s Mrs. Matthews who’s being controlled by the wisp. Can you imagine Mom’s reaction if I accuse her friend?”

“That could be a problem–”

“Yeah, and protective custody doesn’t look too good on a college application, or an application to NASA.”

“Thank you for joining us today, Patty, and I hope you figure it all out soon.”

“Thank you, Miss Lisa.”

“Our sponsor today is Will O’ the Wisp by our own C. S. Boyack. I’ll include all the details on the website. For Lisa Burton Radio, I’m Lisa Burton.”

***

img_1018There is something evil up Bergamot Holler, and it’s been targeting the Hall family for generations.

Patty Hall is fifteen years old. She loves stargazing, science fiction, and all things related to space exploration. This leaves her perfectly prepared for the wrong problem.

Patty is afraid her mother will send her to a care facility if she tells her what she’s seen. If she doesn’t figure things out soon, she’s going to join her father in the Hall family cemetery plot.

Patty has to come to grips with her own physical handicap, survive the wilderness, and face an ancient evil all alone if she’s going to survive.

Will O’ the Wisp is suitable for young adults. It involves strong elements of suspense, and is set in the mid 1970s.

This book is available in two different versions, depending upon where you live.

North American Continent http://a-fwd.com/asin-com=B00UPH6BNS

Rest of the world http://a-fwd.com/asin-com=B00UQNDT2C

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Did some work late last night

I spent a considerable amount of time goofing off yesterday. Two baseball games, a movie with my son, and the last half of the Boise State football game. (Who tries three onsides kicks in a row? Colorado, that's who.)

I went ahead and setup the Amazon Giveaway for Will O' the Wisp. The 99¢ sale for The Playground didn't give me much confidence, but the Amazon contest might generate some interest.

This one is probably the most Halloween-like story in my catalog. That's why I waited for late in the month. I pulled out all my suspense techniques and used them here.

This is the story of a fifteen year old girl, Patty Hall, growing up in a small farming community in the 1970s. I've gotten nearly as many positive comments about the trip down memory lane as about the rest of the story. This setting resonates with a lot of people.

It's also a coming of age story. The character arc is strong in this one, and responses to this part of the tale are also positive.

Aside from the window dressing, there is a pretty good paranormal tale involving an ancient curse, and the strong possibility that Patty might not survive.

This book is not aimed at the young adult market, but it is suitable for them. It's more Goosebumps than Stephen King.

This is the book I'm pushing as part of the blog tour the Story Empire authors are going on this month.

To support all of that, I set up the Amazon Giveaway. This means I bought five copies of the book, all you have to do is enter and you might win one.

Honestly, this is more about getting the title in front of fresh eyes. My regulars already know about this one, and most of you bought it and read it. Still, contests are fun, and maybe you want to share it with someone.

This is the link to enter the Amazon Giveaway. I set the odds at one in seventy, and when I woke up one book had already been awarded.

On the other hand, maybe you don't want to delay your Halloween reading. Maybe you live outside the USA and can't participate in the contest. I published two different versions of this book, because one uses copywrite protected song lyrics. I could only obtain a license in North America. Believe me the difference is about one paragraph.

Here are the purchase links:

North American Continent http://a-fwd.com/asin-com=B00UPH6BNS

Rest of the world http://a-fwd.com/asin-com=B00UQNDT2C

That's the new event for this week. If the trend continues, I should award all five books in five days. I ran the promo until the 30th, but I may have to come up with something else if they all award this week.

The Scavenger Hunts are still going on for the Paranormal Bar & Grille promotion. There are ten Amazon gift cards and five ebooks at stake here, so get into the hunt. This is the link to the Scavenger Hunts. I have enough entrants to award all my prizes, but the odds of winning are incredible right now. Scroll to the bottom of the page and use the individual author links to enter. Enter all of them and your chances of winning go through the roof.

While you're there, the link to the tour is in the middle of the page. Click that one and scroll to the bottom. There is a rafflecopter for a $30 Amazon gift card you can enter too. This doesn't even require the effort of a scavenger hunt.

I have a new Lisa Burton Radio victim and need to start that process today. I may also check into the Steelers Game and the Cubs are playing the Dodgers today too.

Does anyone know of some additional promotion I could do for next week. I've already used free days for Panama, 99¢ sale for The Playground, the contests for Will O' the Wisp. What's new out there that I haven't tried?

 

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Macabre Macaroni, just like Mom used to make

Matricide

“Once more, from the top, please.”

“I thought it would be easier. Just take a knife, slice her in half and be done with it. It isn’t as easy as it sounds. The knife only goes in about six inches, then stops.”

“Where did you do it?”

“The garage. It’s easier to clean up the mess. I’m telling you, crap goes everywhere. I finally had to use some large pruning shears to get her into manageable chunks.”

“And where are these pieces now?”

“The landfill, I suppose. Look, I know that isn’t the right place, but my car’s broke down. I figured if I could bag up the pieces the garbage truck would take them. I had a hell of a time getting her into the garage too.”

“So you premeditated a plan to get her into the garage? Tell us about the plan.”

“I knew I couldn’t do it in the house. I can clean out the garage easier than the carpets, but it was a fight to get her out there. She weighs about the same as I do, and it was all dead weight, you know?”

“So she didn’t go to the garage on her own?”

“They never do.”

“You mean there are more of them? How many more?”

“N, no. This is the first one. I promise never to do it again.”

“You won’t, you sick bastard. We’re going to need those tools as evidence too. You can allow us to search the garage and take the tools, or we can get a warrant. What’s your choice?”

“Will, will I get my tools back? They were my father’s.”

“I don’t think you’ll be needing them where you’re headed.”

“Maybe you ought to get the warrant then.”

“Alright, let’s see if I have this right, before I wake up the judge. You pushed her off the bed, then kicked her over the headboard–”

“Footboard.”

“You kicked her over the footboard. Then you dragged her to the garage, tried to cut her up with a knife, but decided to use some pruning shears instead.”

“Uh huh.”

“Then you placed her pieces in garbage bags and tricked the sanitation company into taking her to the landfill.”

“Yes, sir.”

“How many bags? We need to recover all of them.”

“Th, there were six in all. Four to hold the big parts, and two to hold all the insides. That stuff goes everywhere.”

“Where did you wash up?”

“In my shower. It was hot and sweaty in the garage, and I had crap all over me, so I took a shower.”

“We’re going to have to collect the shower drain too. You seem pretty relaxed about it all.”

“Haven’t slept this well in years.”

“You’re a cold bastard, you know that?”

“I couldn’t take all the sleepless nights, you don’t know how noisy she was at night, and she stunk too. When they get that old they aren’t the same anymore. I sprayed her down with Febreze and gave her a new blanket, but that smell always came back.”

“Good, God. My mother stinks too, but I’d never spray her down with air freshener and cut her up in some dingy garage.”

“Me either.”

“Are you now recanting your testimony?”

“Look all I did was get a new mattress and tried to slip the old one past the garbage man. I never knew it was a crime.”

“Randy at the bar called 911 at 01:34 this morning and said you were in there bragging about matricide.”

“What else would you call it? I got rid of my old mattress. I never knew it was a crime.”

***

With apologies to John Howell who writes these kind of stories better than I could ever hope.

PS: The 99¢ sale for The Playground is going on right now. Take advanatage of the sale price before it goes away.

 

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