Tag Archives: Halloween

Does this Macabre Macaroni still smell okay?

Lisa BurtonHi Gang, Lisa Burton here with the last of Macabre Macaroni for 2017. So far, we’ve raged through the streets as a monster while exploring some of the broken things about various systems. We’ve looked behind the curtain at a hospital to poke a stick in the idea of accountants running our medical professions. We even pulled up a lawn chair for the end of the world.

I’ll, sadly, be retiring my witch’s hat for now, but not until I go trick or treating. I may get to wear it a bit during the editing of Craig’s novella, The Hat.

Today, we’re just going to enjoy a bit of nature in a story Craig calls Little Brown Bat.

Little Brown Bat

Little Brown Bat crawled out of a crack along the cliff face. The crack, no wider than a bottle cap, had housed bats for over a hundred years.

He squinted at the setting sun, but decided to leave the roost early. Soon the nighttime sky would be full of his brethren, but Little Brown Bat knew something they didn’t.

They would all head for the college campus nearby and hope to find the night insects fluttering around the lights surrounding the quad.

Little Brown Bat was headed for Randall’s Marsh. Situated on an abandoned farm, the waters had not been dredged for swimming or poisoned for mosquito control.

Sometimes, if he was early enough, he could catch the last of the day-flying insects. Fat blowflies, and yellowjacket wasps full of meat, made for a satisfying snack. It takes a lot of food to keep Little Brown Bat in the air.

Once the sun set, the marsh itself always had a hatch of water borne insects. Sometimes they were mayflies, sometimes caddis, and if he was lucky a giant stonefly or two.

He ducked into the forest along the way, the shade protected his sensitive eyes from the setting sun. He caught a lazy moth in his tail and flipped it into his mouth on the way to the marsh. A tasty snack this early at night.

He veered onto the muddy two track road, and stayed about three feet off the ground. A fat blowfly gave him hope that he arrived early enough.

Wild yellow iris bloomed along the edge of the first pond, and spread across the boggy area. Later tonight the scent might attract one of the gigantic sphinx moths, nearly as large as he was. He moved on to the first small grassy mound, but it produced nothing more than a pair of lawn moths.

By the time he reached the earthen mounds, he’d scored a juicy yellowjacket and two more flies. The sixth mound remained bare earth. It takes time for the grass to grow over the fresh dirt. It appeared a coyote or some other creature dug deep here. Little Brown Bat caught flies by the dozens.

He made two more circles, but he’d caught all the day insects this evening this evening would offer. On his final turn he spotted a fresh hole.

Barely three feet deep, he knew it wouldn’t be long before it was filled back in. That’s when the day insects came. Sometimes they swarmed by the hundreds over the fresh mounds. He would be able to scoop up flies two and even three at once with his tail.

His friends could fight over the night insects at the quad, and scare the coeds to death. This was the place for Little Brown Bat. The holes always became a fresh mound in three days.

His radar detected the first of the caddis flies coming off the water’s surface. The day flyers were finished, but Little Brown Bat knew the ponds always held an abundance of night hatching insects. They’d been much more abundant this year for some reason. He veered out over the surface of the water.

The swollen faces of three coeds watched him from below the water’s surface. They’d been here for over a month, and the night insects seemed to hatch with greater frequency. They no longer screamed at the site of a tiny bat.

His radar detected a fluttering stonefly, and he veered left. He nearly brushed the exposed rib cage of another coed along the shore as he scooped with his tail, but he caught the huge insect.

Yes, Randall’s Marsh was a lonely place, but it was perfect for Little Brown Bat.

***

If you enjoyed Macabre Macaroni 2017, you can always keep reading. Stories from previous years are available in the sidebar under the category Short Stories and Vignettes. If you’re really into it, and we hope you are, you can pick up some of Craig’s short story collections. Go to his Amazon Author page and look for either of the Experimental Notebooks, or both of them. You can also find some of Craig’s work in the anthologies Quantum Wanderlust and Macabre Sanctuary.

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#Fairies, #Myths, & #Magic October Spooktacular Author Spotlight Guest Post – C. S. Boyack, Paranormal Author — ✨Colleen Chesebro✨The Fairy Whisperer ✨

WELCOME… ENTER IF YOU DARE! Happy October! It’s finally autumn. The days are shorter and the nights are starting to get longer. Perfect for the bookaholics of the world who like to snuggle in a mound of blankets on the couch with a good book… like me. I want to kick off my beloved month […]

via #Fairies, #Myths, & #Magic October Spooktacular Author Spotlight Guest Post – C. S. Boyack, Paranormal Author — ✨Colleen Chesebro✨The Fairy Whisperer ✨

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Fresh from the oven, it’s Macabre Macaroni

Lisa Burton
Welcome to Macabre Macaroni, 2017. I’m Lisa Burton, the robot girl, and I’m going to host the stories this year. I posted my new image full size this time, because some of you collect them. I’ll tone it down in the following weeks.

Macabre Macaroni will post every Tuesday in October, and it’s a collection of micro-fiction from my author C. S. Boyack. Today’s story explores the special relationship between parents and children. Some things are a bit confusing here, but that’s on purpose. It all becomes clear in the end.

Oh, and try not to cry, it’s bad for your circuits and messes up your cool Halloween mascara.

Life in the Shadows

Mindy folded a corner on the book she was reading. Something called an Experimental Notebook of some sort. She looked up at her daughter, Olivia, running around the playground.

Mindy decided to read another short story. Olivia seemed to be enjoying herself and it was such a nice day. Flowers bloomed, and the scent from the municipal rose garden made it all so much more lovely. She turned back to her book, when a man caught her attention.

He was only in her peripheral vision, and looked so tired and lonesome. He watched Olivia as she went down the slide. Mindy panicked and walked over to her daughter. The man was nowhere to be seen. “Time to go, honey. I still need to fix dinner. Your father’s working late again tonight.”

She buckled Olivia into her booster seat and drove three miles to her apartment. Olivia never fussed and always did what she was asked, the perfect child.

At the apartment, she sorted through the mail, then started cooking. “Honey, can you set the table for me? Then you can run upstairs and get into bed. I’ll heat up your bottle and be right up.”

“Yes, Momma.”

Mindy tested the formula on her inner wrist before heading upstairs. Olivia was so cute. Six pounds, three ounces, perfect size for holding in the rocker while she ate. Ten little fingers and toes. She sucked at the bottle and her eyes grew heavy.

Olivia’s father was missing too much. They needed the extra income, but sometimes it would be nice if he could share in all this.

She ate her meal alone at the table, while Olivia slept. She caught a vision of the man again, from the corner of her eye. She snapped her head around, but no one was there. She went through the house and tested all the locks before checking on Olivia.

The next morning Mindy yelled up the stairs. “Olivia, you’d better hurry up, or you’ll miss your bus.”

Olivia ran into the kitchen, wearing her cheerleader uniform. She grabbed a breakfast bar from the pantry, and picked up her backpack. “Chill out, Mom. I’ve got time. I won’t be home until after the game. Can you pick me up around nine?”

“Sure, honey. Have a nice day.”

She spent the morning reading, and cleaning. In the afternoon she colored the Easter Eggs, and wrapped all the Christmas Presents. Olivia was going to be so excited. The bicycle she bought for Olivia’s birthday was exactly the one she talked about all summer.

On the way to the gym, she spotted the man again on a street corner. He seemed to be crying and watched her drive by. When she looked back, he was gone.

Olivia looked so pretty, arm and arm with the handsome basketball player. She never protested when Mindy honked the horn, and came straight to the car.

The drive home was uneventful, and the man never appeared again. “I made all your favorites for supper. I waited for you. Get changed and we’ll eat together.”

Mindy sat the table like a gracious hostess and waited nervously for Olivia. When she finally came out, Mindy placed her hands over her heart and teared up. Olivia’s hair had been cut short, her three-piece business suit looked perfectly tailored, the huge diamond on her left hand sparkled under the lights. “Oh, honey, you look so beautiful.”

“Thanks, Mom. You really are the best, but we need to talk.”

“I don’t want to talk about that now. We have so much to do tomorrow.”

“I’ll bet it’s all wonderful too, but I’m not supposed to be here. You aren’t supposed to be here either.”

“Oh, nonsense. We have a perfect life together.”

“Life isn’t supposed to be perfect. It has struggles and imperfections. We have to accept some of that and move on. It’s time for you to move on too.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“It’s called Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.” Olivia reached across the table and took her mother’s hand. “It happens, and none of it’s your fault. You need to forgive yourself and get on with your life. I need to get along too.”

“Aren’t you happy here, Honey?”

“It’s been great. You had so many plans for me, so many hopes and dreams, but none of this is real. A birthday every month, trick or treating every week.”

“But you’re so cute in your little princess outfit.”

“I really would have been, but it never happened. Daddy is worried sick about you. He spends every night in your hospital room, reading to you. Your coma has lasted seven months now. He can’t afford the long term care any longer, and you have to help him out.”

“But you’re my only daughter.”

“I’m your first child. You can have others, and what happened to me isn’t likely to happen again. I know you’re aware of him. I’ve seen him too. Always there in the fringes. He’s so sad.”

“He’s a grown man. He can take care of himself for a little longer.”

“This conversation always comes back to a little longer. He’s there right now. I know you can see him.”

Mindy looked, and the man was there on the edge of her vision. His rumpled suit looked like he’d been wearing it for days.

Like wind-blown leaves, a voice whispered, “Please come back to me, Mindy.”

Mindy’s blood ran cold and she straightened up in her chair.

“I heard him too, Mom. He’s at his wits end, and his financial end. His work is suffering and he could lose his job. You can’t help me, but you can help him. You can help yourself too.”

Mindy’s eyes blinked, and tears flowed. The dining room faded, along with Olivia. A plain white room took form over the elaborate dining table.

The voice of her husband came across loud and clear. “Please, Mindy, I’m begging you. I’ll do anything. I miss you, and I want you back in my life.”

Like a whisper, Olivia’s voice barely came through. “I love you, Mom. Try again, and stay away from those sleeping pills.”

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Smells like victory


I fiddled with stuff yesterday and today. I managed to write and send out one more post about Quantum Wanderlust, the free anthology I get the honor of appearing in. If you still haven’t gotten your copy, it’s available for free at this link.

I also wrote up, sent out, and scheduled the coming Lisa Burton Radio post. Beyond that, I responded to some new applicants and got them some materials to get things started.

One more friend has a new book dropping soon, and I got his announcement post assembled and scheduled. I have a review all ready to go for him too, because I was one of the beta readers on this project.

My favorite beta reader has an opening, and I sent her a copy of The Yak Guy Project, along with some general conversation.

Aside from that, I added a bunch of things to my calendar so I can keep up with the guest posts I have coming up for October. I can usually remember, but there are too many coming up for me to trust my memory. Some of the sites are new to me, so I don’t want to drop the ball and fail to show up on someone.

Speaking of which, I have a habit of picking a random day and tweeting out the most recent five Lisa Burton Radio posts every week. I like to deliver a bit of extra support, and while Twitter doesn’t amount to much, it can help the authors. I never promised to do this for anyone, it’s just my extra effort. I went back through the list, and I have several authors who never even bothered to show up. Some of my regulars reblogged, tweeted, facebooked, etc. They never even got a thank you. Today I skipped over those posts in my retweeting. Does that make me a bad host? I kind of feel like it, but why should I put in an extra effort when the author didn’t put in a first effort?

To all of you who use the sharing buttons, or reblog my posts, I appreciate you. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I’ll be there when you need me. All you have to do is ask. Reference the new book posts that have been appearing on this blog.

Macabre Macaroni will be every Tuesday in October. People seemed to enjoy my Halloween stories, so I’m doing it again this year. I always worry about these, because they don’t go to beta readers, they’re micro-fiction. I guess the comments will let me know what everyone thought. The first one of those is all scheduled and will post this Tuesday. It seems like one of them is always a big hit and I can’t predict which one it will be. I honestly have no idea.

I got a bunch of reading done today, and a bit of video gaming too. I really need to use the calm morning hours for reading, but when everyone starts stirring I can dedicate myself to other things.

My baseball team anchored home field advantage for the MLB wildcard game. This is a one-game playoff to see who moves on. I kind of want to do something with The Enhanced League to celebrate, but have no idea what. I have some free days available, but those are hit and miss. Any ideas here? Win or lose, I’m excited my team made it this far and it’s been a long time. You can bet I’ll be watching the game on Wednesday.

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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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