Tag Archives: monsters

Nothing quite like the terror of hitting the publish button

I got to the writing cabin early this morning. So early, Lisa was still recharging her batteries.

I wasted no time heading for my office, but Lisa intercepted me at my computer, at least her voice did.

“I need another hour of juice.” Her voice came from the speakers. “I’ve never seen you so early before. I sent a command to the coffee pot to start brewing, but you’ll have to give it twelve minutes and eighteen seconds to brew.”

Doubt, the raven, watched me with his malignant gaze. He spread his ebony wings and glided over to the desk.

I loaded my manuscript, chose some keywords, added a cover.

“Blork, pik, pik.”

I think that means how much I suck, but could not be dissuaded.

I winged it when it came to the blurb. I always do this, and really should spend a month getting it just right. For some reason, it always feels more genuine to write it on the fly.

“Ha, ha, ha. Ha, ha, ha.”

“Shut up, you stupid bird. Don’t you need to go outside and cruise for roadkill?”

Doubt paced back and forth on my desk. He swept his head from side to side, as if to say, “No, no, no.”

It didn’t matter. I uploaded the damned book. Then the waiting began. Amazon can take up to three days to approve a new book. I checked email. Nothing.

The beeper on the coffee pot went off, so I helped myself. Then checked email.

A couple of webcomics published new pages, so I read those. Then checked email.

Lisa Burton Radio. Checked email.

A new critique submission ate up a couple of hours. Checked email between each chapter.

Chatted with Story Empire compatriots. Checked email.

Lisa showed up. She looked fabulous in her oversized New Year’s sweatshirt and black tights. “Whatcha doin’?”

“Just checking email.”

“There’s an Indiana Jones film festival on. Maybe you should check it out.”

“Right after I check my email.”

She grabbed me by the arm, then walked me to the couch. She’s connected to the entire house, and the television came on without a glance. “… Goose-stepping morons like yourselves should try reading books, instead of burning them…”

“I’d better check my email.”

“Relax. It will all happen in time.” She went to tend her pet rabbit.

I pulled my hidden phone from my pocket and checked email.

It went like that pretty much all day. I exchanged a few notes about the critique, then went back to chatting with the Story Empire crowd. One of them told me they just bought my book. “ACK!!!” I still didn’t have an email.

I got the link from her, then created an Amazon global link. I did a long-planned facelift on my blog. It looks so great. Sean Harrington did an update on my banner image to keep it in theme with the new book.

Still no email from Amazon. When I dug deeper, it was in my junk folder. WHAT??? Nothing really ever goes in my junk folder, so I never thought about it, but there it was.

So (Composing myself), Lanternfish is a book. I made a new graphic for the sidebar, and you can pick up your copy by clicking on the cover. I sent out a couple of blog tour inquiries, and need to get started sending out the pre-written posts. They’re all unique, so my followers can get updated stuff at each stop. I have more people to contact, but none of this happens until Amazon sends the email.

Of course, I have to go back to work tomorrow. That puts a damper on some of this. I’m sorely tempted to take tomorrow off now. Goodreads, BookBub, and a bunch of other places need updates now.

Lanternfish is the book I wrote about all summer. It’s the one with root monsters, giant jellyfish, moving reef, and more. If pirate fantasy is your thing, I’d like to draw your attention to this one.

I have some fun posters Lisa made to help promote with, and can’t wait to share them.

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Filed under Muse, Writing

Talk Like a Pirate Day

I just realized today is Talk Like a Pirate Day. I love this, and wondered what I could do about it on my blog. Writing out an entire post in “Pirate” probably isn’t going to impress anyone, so I’ll spare you that.

Truth is, I have a pirate tie in. I’ve finished Voyage of the Lanternfish, but it won’t publish until this winter sometime. Could be 2018, could be 2019, but winter just the same.

I’ve been working on posts for a blog tour to introduce the story to people. I’ve been working on getting my artwork together too. There is a lot that happens to pull off a successful release.

Normally, I just hold stuff back and spring it on people when I’m ready, but this is Talk Like a Pirate day. How could I avoid that? Check out this cover and see if you might want to read my pirate fantasy/adventure tale.

Voyage of the Lanternfish

Meanwhile, Lisa is hanging out with Sean Harrington again. Who knows what they get up to when I’m not around, but I have a hunch they’ll be talking like pirates in some tavern tonight. Lisa sent me this advance picture to let me know she’s actually working and needs to stay on the payroll.

Lisa Burton

I hope they leave the root monsters home tonight. I don’t think I have bail money to spare. Have a great day, mates.

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It’s a book!

Voyage of the Lanternfish is a book. Okay, officially it’s a draft, but spot me some of the emotion of finishing the damned thing for a day.

I could have easily finished yesterday. I was on a roll, but my wife got home from work, and with two more days off I wasn’t worried.

Some of you like to keep score, so it’s at 105, 503 words. This will likely go down in my editing phase. That makes for about 1500 words before I called my parents this morning.

My cool new monster did his job, and the pirates freed him to terrorize a small village somewhere. I think his abilities are pretty cool, and hope my readers will too.

In typical fantasy fashion, the girl is rescued, the enemy is smited smitten, and the ship is sailing over the horizon.

I also managed to shave the girl’s head because of lice, and embarrassed the captain a bit in front of his men.

Now it needs to rest. It goes in the fermenter for at least two weeks while I regroup and work on other things. Then I can start those editing passes. I’m sure the Raven of Doubt is already circling over the writing cabin in anticipation.

I dropped a couple of scenes, because I believe in short denouements. One involved the discovery of a sea battle gone wrong, and another involved a chipped tooth from blowing a conch shell horn. That was a minor character, and he hasn’t earned the page time.

I assembled an upcoming Lisa Burton Radio interview, then got it scheduled. I followed that up by writing a shtick for another one and got it sent to the author. Lisa still needs guests, so if you’re interested drop me a line. I’m working into September right now.

I think I’m done today. I’m up tomorrow at Story Empire, and may write a companion piece to that post over here tomorrow night. If I do, I’ll link to SE from here.

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Not quite a wrap

I slept in this morning. I never even got started until after 7:30. I have my morning routine to attend to, and bulldogs need fed, etc.

After I surfed through a few kinds of social media, I started reading my previous efforts. I caught a couple of word echos, but I’m sure there are more to deal with later.

The plan was to work through until the end, and it still is. That day was not today though.

However, I did get the issue with multiple ships resolved, and worked through the big finale. My new monster made his appearance and had his big scene. Part of the denouement happened during the big battle, but there is more to come.

I honestly wrote something just shy of 10,000 words. I would have surpassed that number, but my wife called. She was on her way home from work, and that signals the end of my writing time.

I am not complaining. This was a great day on the writing front, and I don’t get many like this. There are two more days in my weekend, so it’s likely I’ll finish my draft before I have to return to the office.

In a perfect world this will happen. I have to call my parents tomorrow morning, and that takes an hour. They’re also coming to visit next weekend, so there won’t be any writing time. If I get it all done this weekend, it won’t matter.

Now my wife has some film festival on that involves multiple headed sharks. They’re up to five right now, with six heads promised later tonight. These fall into the category of bad science fiction that I enjoy once in a while, but they aren’t good enough to really enjoy.

It almost makes me embarrassed to be writing a book with sea monsters in it… almost. My monsters are much cooler.

In other news, we learned that the woo-hoo song from Kill Bill makes Frankie crazy. She ran through the house like an insane dog, wrestled Otto to the ground, and made a loop around the backs of the couch. It was almost like one of those Las Vegas shows where the motorcycle drives around in a cage.

I may talk Old What’s Her Face into watching baseball after this posts. Last night’s game was so bad I went to bed before it ended. Still, it didn’t have a five headed shark in it.

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The Hat, on #LisaBurtonRadio

Welcome all you superheroes and ghost whisperers. You citizens of the great beyond. You’ve found Lisa Burton Radio, and I have a real treat for you today. I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl, and my guest today is Lizzie St. Laurent. She’s a twenty-one year old college dropout working multiple jobs to keep her head above water. “Welcome to the show, Lizzie”

“Hi Lisa. Hi everyone.”

“Lizzie, it looks like your parents are fairly well off. They were able to buy you a car, and pitched in for your education. How did you get to this point in your life?”

“College was always in the plan. To pull it off, I was going to live with my grandmother, and did up until she died. Then a college friend talked me into moving in with her, and that was okay until she bailed and went home to her parents. I was stuck with the apartment, and all the bills. I had to drop out and take on an extra job to make ends meet.”

“It wasn’t possible to keep living in your grandmother’s house? Did she have a mortgage or something?”

“No. She owned it free and clear, but it was part of the estate and my uncle couldn’t wait to get his hands on the money. He wound up with the lions share, because my mom, his sister, is out on the west coast.

“I didn’t care, but I loved her and wanted a memento of some kind. He refused and tried to pass off a casino ashtray as something of hers. Maybe it was, but I wanted a house plant or something.”

“I hate it when people are like that. This brings us to a pivotal point in your life though. Tell us what you did next.”

“I, um. I stole a box of stuff from the back of the truck. Partially because I’m an heir too, and partially because I wanted something of hers. It turned out to be this crappy old hat.

“Turned out it wasn’t a hat at all. He is a creature from another dimension, and he’s trapped in the form of a hat. He’s been here for thousands of years, and his last owner was my grandfather who I barely knew.”

“I know my fashion, and it changes even for men. I can’t imagine a style stuck around for thousands of years.”

“Oh, he can change, but always as headwear. It all started out when this soldier wanted eyes in the back of his head. He paid a witch to cast a spell like that on his helmet. The spell kind of worked, but it trapped him here and bound him to the soldiers bloodline. Turns out, I’m part of that bloodline.”

“That’s pretty cool. You could always have the latest fashion just by having him change, plus you could watch for muggers behind you at night.”

“Yeah, but there’s more to it than that. He’s a complete person himself. He has a mission, and my family’s been tangled up in it for years and years. He is some kind of paranormal avenger.”

“You mean like a superhero?”

“Yeah, if you want to put it that way, only he doesn’t arrest people or beat up the bad guys, he sh – um shoots them.”

“Wait a minute. How can a hat shoot anyone?”

“He um… He uses me for that.”

“You mean he takes over your body and makes you shoot people? Like some kind of Jekyll and Hyde thing?”

“Not exactly. Most of the time it’s monsters, but sometimes it’s people. Bad people though. I went along with it to save some babies.

“It’s more like I’m there, but he’s there too. I can do things I could never do before because he can.”

“I’m not understanding that, sorry.”

“He taught me how to shoot. I can shoot a pistol with my right hand, but at the same time, he can shoot one with my left hand. I can see what he sees, and I can even sleep while he drives my car.

“You make it all sound bad, but he’s an incredible musician. He plays the upright bass. I can sing a little, so we formed a band. It brings in enough money to pay the bills. It also takes us out nights where we can protect people from bad things.”

“What do your band mates think of him?”

“They don’t know. They just see me, wearing a hat, while I play the bass and cover the vocals. It makes me nervous not having a regular paycheck, but it’s worked out so far.

“Look, there’s a lot more to it, Lisa. There is a cabin in the woods, and the hat has some other skills, like being able to find people if he’s ever met them before. I don’t know if we have time for it all today.”

“Not for nothing, Lizzie, but I’m a robot girl who also appeared in a story. As such, I have some special skills myself. I can tell those earbuds you’re wearing aren’t giving off a signal of any kind. That’s him isn’t it?”

“Um, they’re just not turned on.”

“They aren’t turned on, because they’re fake. They aren’t even giving off an electrical imprint. Why don’t you come out and talk to us? Are you shy?”

“Oh, god no. He isn’t shy at all. He wants to maintain his cover. Thinks if people hear the broadcast they’ll just think I’m some crazy girl.”

“Lizzie, I feel like we’ve only scratched the surface here. I mean your grandfather was some kind of paranormal assassin, now you are too. We just don’t have time to dive into all of it.”

“It’s okay, Lisa. Your listeners can read all about it in the book The Hat, by our mutual author C.S. Boyack. It’s been a pleasure working with you today, and I hope we can do it again soon.”

“Maybe sooner than you think. The Hat is available on Amazon and I’ll go ahead and include a purchase link. I’m also going to add one of the posters I made to promote this book, since Craig wrote it. For Lisa Burton Radio, I’m Lisa Burton.”

***

Lizzie St. Laurent is dealing with many of the struggles of young life. She lost her grandmother, and her living arrangements. Her new roommate abandoned her, and she’s working multiple jobs just to keep her head above water.

She inherits an old hat from her grandmother’s estate, but it belonged to her grandfather. This is no ordinary hat, but a being from an alternate dimension. One with special powers.

Lizzie and the hat don’t exactly hit it off right away, but when her best friend’s newborn is kidnapped by a ring of baby traffickers, Lizzie turns to the hat for help. This leads her deep into her family history and a world she’s never known.

Lizzie gives up everything to rescue the babies. She loses her jobs, and may wind up in jail before it’s over. Along the way, she and the hat may have a new way of making ends meet.

Humorous and fun, The Hat is novella length. Wonderful escapism for an afternoon.

Pick up your copy right here.

One of the posters Lisa posed for to promote this novella.

Lisa Burton

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Lucked into some writing time

One of the odd circumstances about being broke is it provides more writing time. We like to go out on the weekends, or even just go to the farmer’s market, but have cut most of that out lately. After I called my parents, we had our usual Sunday breakfast, played ball with the dogs, and time was on my side.

My pirates picked up a new crew member, avoided a serious monster, but encountered another one that should not be taken for granted. I debated sharing him here, but I’m going to go ahead, because I’m happy with how he turned out. I’ve never heard of anything like him before.

Writing pirates brings its own challenges, beyond having never sailed in my life. Some tropes are required to make it piraty. Others take on the theme of seen it all before. As an example, there are no giant squid, krakens, or magic swords in my story. I’m trying to be unique here where I can.

My little monster is a riff on the hermit crab. Only imagine something more like a giant conch shell. Inside this shell is a kind of sea dragon. I modeled him after a Chinese dragon, but gave him an eel-like tail. He has a scary breath weapon too. I won’t mention any more, but I thought he was pretty cool for something about three feet long. I may change him up a bit on the editing pass, but I really like him.

For those of you keeping score I’m at 90,600 words today. That’s somewhere in the neighborhood of 2600 words. That’s unheard of for a Sunday around here.

In other news we found this in our flower beds. Talk about monsters.

I didn’t put anything in the image for scale, but he’s about 2.5 inches long. He has the look of a borer. Last time one of these showed up, they killed my apricot tree. At least he was in the front yard away from my peach tree.

Keep away from my peach tree, dudes!

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Not according to plan

I had to leave work early on Thursday. It felt like an allergy issue, and there was a lot of smoke in the air, so it was certainly part of it.

I’ve had allergies all my life, but between Nevada and Idaho, they are different. In Nevada everything was about snot and sneezing. Up here it all seems to be about my eyes. I felt like someone was inside my head trying to push them out of my skull. It got so bad I couldn’t see my computer, and the headache that accompanied them was also a handicap.

I figured that’s all it was, until I got home and started shivering. It was only 100 degrees-plus outside, so there was a problem. I felt feverish until about two o’clock on Friday.

It could be that allergies weakened my resistance, and some bad juju snuck in. It’s all just theory though. Water seems to be the best medicine. More water = feeling better.

I try to avoid hydration, and I know that’s bad. I have an enlarged prostate to begin with, plus I get to enjoy a diuretic for high blood pressure. Combine that with lots of water and I may as well blog from the bathroom.

I dabbled with a Lisa Burton interview Friday night. New fiction didn’t get much effort.

Today was another matter. I managed some decent new fiction. My pirates sailed to the uncharted island to search for a specific man. They wandered in the wilderness for a bit, but eventually found him. He isn’t a very pleasant fellow. He’s hiding on this island on purpose.

It turns out the man doesn’t have what they are looking for, but… There could be another way to deal with the main story problem. They have to cut a deal here, and what can you give someone who has no use for gold? I could tell you, but I want to keep that part to myself.

I managed to weave in another monster who doesn’t appear on the page. Some of this is my attempt at world building. The wild places are truly wild in this story. However, there is another monster here who will make an appearance on the page. Maybe as soon as tomorrow. I designed him myself, and I can’t wait to see how it all works out.

Research and fudging are always interesting in fantasy and science fiction. We’re dealing with navigation issues now, and while I understand trigonometry, I haven’t exercised those muscles in decades.

Part of good fiction is bullshitting your way through these parts. Nobody wants to read about trigonometry. My job will be to make it sound painstaking, dangerous in the course of this story if it comes out wrong, give a bit of description, and forge ahead with results.

I also struggled how a man with a wooden leg would fare on a sandy beach. I kind of want this guy involved, so I decided the sand was wet packed enough that he could get around. Good thing there were no dunes just off the beach.

88,000 words and counting for those keeping score at home. I would kind of like to hit 100K on this one. All of my recent stuff has come in pretty short, and fantasy lends itself to more word count. I have a hunch my target won’t be a problem.

After they leave this island, there will be some experimentation, some fantasy mathematics, and we’re heading right into the big finale.

Now it’s time for more water. Does beer count as being mostly water?

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