Tag Archives: paranormal

The Hat: a book review

My Sunday Book Review for C.S. Boyack’s – The Hat. This little book was a fun escape read, and although not in my usual genre of reading, I found it quite delightful. Keep reading here.

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Some Yak and Wisp love

A couple of my titles got some love this week. Stop by Tori’s place and see what she thought about them.

#AmReading + #AmWatching – May 30th 2019 #Reviews

It’s time to take a look at what I’ve been reading and watching during this past week.

If you want to know more about the book, or the author, click on whichever it is you want to learn more about, and it will take you to the appropriate page on Goodreads. Clicking on my rating should take you to my actual Goodreads review for the book in question. Please bear in mind that the format I’ve reviewed on Goodreads may not be the format I actually read.

Read the rest of Tori’s post.

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The Idea Mill #36

It’s been about six months since we visited the old Idea Mill. I’ve save a few articles over that time, but they don’t seem to be showing up as fast as they used to. Then there’s the other fact: I’ve been busy. It’s time to put some of the fun things back into this blog, so we’re returning to the Idea Mill today.

My basis for posting these is that I write speculative fiction. I know many of you do too. This kind of fiction always requires a leap of faith. Because of that, it’s important to base much of what we do on fact. It makes that leap easier to make for our readers. These articles are to kick your Muse, but also ground your story elements in a bit of reality.

Our first one involves how muggles used to protect themselves from witches. They looked upon their homes as defensible spaces. I guess if you were out shopping you were on your own. They did this by building various items into their homes, behind walls, under the threshold, that kind of thing. They hid worn out shoes, which includes an interesting theory about the devil. Desiccated animals were popular, cats being a major target. There is even a tutorial about making your own witch bottle. Hint: Drink a lot of coffee before you start. Read the article here.

You could make a neat character who is kind of an anti-witch. He or she makes things to protect against witchcraft. Of course, eventually, someone figures out this is also witchcraft and turns people against your heroine. I still have those con artists who sell curses and counter curses on the back burner somewhere. They are actually a married couple and work to get people spending with them. They might fit into a future volume of Lanternfish now that I think about it.

Our next article is about an archeological site that is a graveyard of sorts. There are a couple of intriguing graves, including one that appears to have been buried with live horses still harnessed to a chariot. The most interesting one is a young warrior who appears to have died of natural causes. However, he was “killed” again before burial by stabbing him repeatedly and bashing his head in. Here is the link.

I’m sure we can come up with all kinds of undead stories for the young warrior. Maybe he did pass from natural causes, but rose from his grave as something else requiring the re-killing.

The charioteer is just as interesting. What if he volunteered to go to the other side and wage war against the zombie hoard, or vampire uprising?

Obviously, these monster tales take a leap of faith, but it’s cool knowing about the real burial practices that could fit into your story.

Finally, we have the world’s first 3-D printed human heart from the donor’s own genetic material. We’ve known this was coming for a long time. It seem to me I posted once before about this, and it was based upon growing the heart muscle on a framework of spider silk. This one is tiny, but it proves a lot of the science to make it a real thing. Read the article here.

This one screams science fiction, particularly that ten-minutes-into-the-future kind I love. It makes some neat scenery for your Dr. McCoy kind of characters.

I like the idea of people being people, and may be able to work with this to a degree myself. We stop taking care of ourselves, because insurance allows us to grow our own spare parts and store them at the hospital. Go ahead and destroy your liver, there’s a brand new one when you need it. Lung cancer, Ha! I already have the cure in the freezer. Maybe every teenage sports star has a jar of replacement ulnar collateral ligaments in dad’s freezer.

I like to make up my own corny outline for these posts, so here goes nothing:

A young soldier returns from Afghanistan, but dies suddenly of natural causes. He rises from the grave as a vampire and starts giving all the local girls hickeys.

Terrified townies start dehydrating their cats and making witch bottles from a YouTube tutorial to keep him out of their homes. They’re safe, but don’t dare go outside. Resources are running out.

A hero arises, and volunteers to fight the vampire in the netherworld. To do this, he has to die and be buried with the weapons he needs on the other side. The only way to bring him back after the battle is by placing a fresh beating heart in his chest. Fortunately, he has good insurance and one is waiting for him at the hospital.

They bury him alive, but instead of a living horse, he gets a Humvee with the motor running, and a .50 caliber machine-gun.

The only way the locals can tell if the job is finished is to watch the vampire’s body for signs of damage. Once he’s thoroughly mangled in the afterlife, they plant him, dig up the hero and stitch in his brand new heart. Happy ever after with some kind of diatribe about how growing the heart was covered, replacing it wasn’t covered, medical bankruptcy etc.

***

I hope something here inspired you with a new story idea, some kind of setting, or scenery you can make use of.

I gave the Idea Mill posts their own category to make for simple surfing. Lookit, right over there in the sidebar.

All you have to do is click the Idea Mill category and the posts will filter down to more of these.

I’d love to hear from you guys. What would you do with one (or more) of these? Have I given you any ideas for your stories. Maybe a line for your notebooks somewhere for future use? Talk to me.

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A writer’s holiday

After the goof off weekend, I planned on one more day of writing. It turned out pretty well, but wasn’t a banner day. My iPad battery says it’s time to recharge, so I’m writing this while it’s on the wire.

I have two of three critiques back for Serang, and will wait for the remaining one. Maybe I can address all of them come Saturday.

Today I focused on the unnamed team-up adventure. I stopped doing word counts, but it feels like about 2000. Lizzie and the hat had a small spat, because they always do. They teamed up with Clovis to chase a red herring that revealed a big surprise. Of course he busted some heads along the way, because that’s what he does. He even got to kill a zombie using a sledge hammer. Fun, fun, fun.

Oh, and Lizzie and the hat stole a second upright bass. It was right there, what were they supposed to do?

Lisa and Jason got the last scene, so they faded into the background for this section. Jason is thinking about going home and cutting his losses. Gina and Gupta shared a new development that raised the stakes and anchored everyone until the end.

I have a conundrum with this one. I want it at novel length, but it’s looking like about 50,000 words will wrap it up. I’ve always said a story should be as long as it needs to be, no more – no less. I still believe that.

My problem is that I have enough 99¢ titles out there. If someone needs a stepping stone into my work, there are plenty of options, even a couple of free anthologies. I want to price this one at $2.99 like most of my recent work. I’d like some feedback here, but I won’t pad word count. I have several big scenes, and can’t be completely sure until I wrap it up. What’s your advice on pricing? Would you pay $2.99 for a short novel?

Keep in mind that my publishing desire is Serang before school lets out, then the un-named project around Halloween. I may park the unnamed one, finish Serang, then see if more ideas pop up for the unnamed one during the Spring.

In other news, the experimental bread rose well overnight. Sourdough is slow and you have to be patient. I punched it down before sunrise, but it’s taking its sweet time on the second rise. If I need to nudge it a bit, I’ll place it on a hot pad.

For the rest of the day, I’ll kick back and wait for the black helicopters to land. Why you ask? These are the windows I have open in my browser. It could give you some insight into both stories I’m working on right now.

  • My blog, Entertaining Stories.
  • Yin and Yang comparison.
  • Viral Hemorrhagic Fever.
  • Marburg Virus.
  • English to Chinese translator.
  • The Chinese Cobra.
  • Three different tabs for an online convention I’m interested in.
  • A chart about how fast Ebola spreads.
  • A map of the districts in Chicago.
  • Amazon for Voyage of the Lanternfish. (I was checking for new reviews. I need more.)

What’s your browsing history look like?

This afternoon, I have to get on with an interview for Lisa Burton Radio. Interest in these has tapered off, but I’m still doing them. I may use the online convention to push them a bit more.

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Pulling back the veil

I wanted to hold some of this back, but I find myself lacking for things to blog about. I have some goals that are kind of opposed to each other for the year, and I’m going to have to make a small change.

Lisa BurtonOne of my goals was to include more posts from the writing cabin. This is where my robotic assistant and I plan out the day, and write the stories. This is hard to do when she isn’t there, and that’s the big problem.

I’ve started writing a book that includes Lisa Burton. That plays into my year of sequels, and it’s kind of a crazy idea, because it’s a sequel to multiple books. It makes for a fun learning experience, because I have to live with character histories. I also have to make it stand alone if someone hasn’t read a previous book. Actually, it’s a wonderful goal.

Here are the players in this story:

  • The Playground – Gina Greybill, Mohan Gupta, Justine, and Clovis.
  • The Experimental Notebook of C.S. Boyack 1 & 2 – Lisa Burton, and Jason Fogg.
  • Wild Concept – Lisa Burton
  • The Hat – Lizzie and the hat

There are going to be some minor characters who appear too. Others will be a nod within the story, like The Enhanced League. I have a surprise or two along the way that I’ll keep close to the vest for now.

I had a fun teaser idea where I would post some old blues video and a Lisa Burton poster, then stay quiet about the whole thing. Invite followers to guess as to what’s happening. I think that would have worked well, and I can still do it without the guessing.

Part of the fun is making sure everyone gets their moment to shine. At this point, it’s coming out very well, without a whole lot of backstory to clog it up.

Aside from the goal of “Entertaining Stories” there could be some additional benefit here too. Some people love Lisa, Clovis, the hat. Here is their chance to revisit them. Hopefully, the line will work both ways. Maybe someone reads this book, then decides to learn more about Lizzie and the hat, or Jason Fogg.

Best of all, I’m having a good time. If there isn’t any money in this business, fun is all that remains. Fun also translates to the page and makes the books better.

Right now, I’m fast approaching 25K words. So far, Lisa gets along with everyone. Clovis and the hat seem to be finding common ground. Lizzie is fine with Lisa and Gina. Jason is a bit standoffish, but he always was.

Today, Clovis broke off from the group, because he’s like that. He gathered evidence in a way that only Clovis can. After depositing the bodies, he and the dog went out for hotdogs.

When I stopped for the day, the group compared Clovis’ findings with Lisa’s web searches to get closer to an answer. Right now the clues are organized crime, pharmaceuticals, and two kinds of zombies. At the end of this writing day, someone mentioned the word wraith.

I mention this, so you can see how Gina, Lizzie, and the hat might tie in. Gina is a doctor who fights paranormal evils. Lizzie and the hat use a kind of symbiosis to become a paranormal avenger… and to play rockabilly music in a band.

I’m making Lizzie and the hat kind of the lead into the story, but others will have their moments to shine. I’m going to include some fun graphics like I did in The Hat, and even have an alternate ending worked out. I’m going to include this after my author section kind of like the end of a Marvel Comics based movie, because it’s fun, and because I can.

At the same time, I’ve also been writing a book called Serang. This one is a stand alone story, but is previous to Voyage of the Lanternfish. Serang is a neat character from Lanternfish, and she wanted me to tell her story. I’ve taken her from childhood to teenager. The last bit I worked on has her talking to an ethereal dragon. She hates dragons, but might wind up finding some peace with them. It’s also in the 25K word count area.

Not too bad for a weekend warrior like myself. Winter is the best time for me to write, so I want to sling the words while I can.

Eventually, I’ll have to park one of them so I can complete the other one. It would be fabulous to release them both this year. Ideally, Serang before school lets out, and the unnamed team-up somewhere before Halloween.

It’s a tough goal, but it is possible with a bit of luck.

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Paying the Bills, on #LisaBurtonRadio

Lisa Burton

Hi everyone, and welcome to this week’s edition of Lisa Burton Radio. Just me this week for several reasons. The main one is that I didn’t want to stick a guest during the week between the holidays.

Still, Christmas is over, and mine was wonderful. Bunny and I hung out at the writing cabin, and it was nice and quiet.

Speaking of Christmas, what did you get? I know this crowd, and every one of you got an Amazon gift card. You’re all readers and writers, don’t deny it. After you finish your purchases, there is likely to be a bit left over, and that’s what I want to talk about today.

Craig is my author. Officially, it’s C. S. Boyack, but we all just call him Craig. See, he writes books too. His are all ebooks, so you’ll need a Kindle or one of the apps to read them.

He has a lot of titles these days, so I won’t break them all down. There are novels, collections of short stories, one group of short stories that tells an over-arching tale, and even a couple of free anthologies he’s appeared in.

Craig lives in the world of speculative fiction, so you’ll find fantasy, paranormal, and science fiction among his titles. Sometimes more than one in the same book.

2018 was a fair publishing schedule. Craig released a novel and his first novella. Call it whatever you like, but it’s 50,000 words or so. We don’t like novelette or some of the other designations.

The first one is a novel called The Yak Guy Project. This one is about a rotten young man who wakes up in the desert with no idea how he got there. He’s rescued by a talking yak, and taken on an adventure that provides quite a bit of room for personal growth.

Let’s face it, the guy had a lot of room for personal growth. Know what I mean? Think of it like a coming of age story for a new generation. You can pick up your copy for $2.99. There’s bound to be that much left on your Amazon card.

This is the one that follows the Major Arcana of the Tarot if that appeals to you. You don’t have to understand it to enjoy the ride. If you do, it might be interesting to try spotting the places where a card is represented.

The next one is called The Hat. This is the shorter one I mentioned. You can actually read it in a long afternoon. It’s about a girl who crosses paths with an old hat. Only this isn’t really a hat. He’s a being from another dimension trapped in the form of a hat for all eternity.

They are worlds apart, so they argue a lot. She’s twenty-one, and he’s been in a box for twenty years. He missed cell phones, the Internet, and most of the daily technology we have today.

These guys are both pretty capable, but together they form a symbiosis that let’s them do even more. Think of them like paranormal superheroes, and they’re on the trail of some nefarious baby snatchers.

It seems like a lot of story, and it is. But you can pick up your copy for 99¢. That’s it, 99¢. Come on, you know you got free shipping on your Amazon Alexa unit. Check the reviews and I think you’ll become converts.

Oh, and I have it on good authority that Lizzie and The Hat are going to make a return engagement in 2019.

That’s it for me today. We’ll start having guests again after the new year. I usually throw in a bunch of links and stuff at this point, but you’re already here. I’ll add some cover art, make them link to the purchase site, and toss this link in for good measure.

Craig’s Amazon Author Page is https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00ILXBXUY Just in case you want one of those free anthologies or a different title.

That’s it for me, I’m outta here. Don’t forget to use those sharing buttons today. Craig’s done it for over a hundred episodes of Lisa Burton Radio, and he’ll do it again when your character appears on the next Lisa Burton Radio.

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Welcome Mae Clair

Mae is a good friend of mine. She’s one of my partners over at Story Empire, and usually serves as one of the first people to go over my own manuscripts. I’m honored to lend my blog space to her new release.

I’ve read most of Mae’s books, and will attest they are wonderful. The Hode’s Hill series is just getting started, and Cusp of Night was outstanding.

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Book cover for End of Day, mystery/suspense novel by Mae Clair shows old dilapidated church with bell tower and a cemetery in the background overgrown with weeds

Release Date: January 15, 2019
Genre: Mystery/Suspense/Supernatural Thriller
Publisher: Kensington Publishing • Lyrical Underground Imprint

BLURB:
The past is never truly buried…

Generations of Jillian Cley’s family have been tasked with a strange duty—tending the burial plot of Gabriel Vane, whose body was the first to be interred in the Hode’s Hill cemetery. Jillian faithfully continues the long-standing tradition—until one October night, Vane’s body is stolen from its resting place. Is it a Halloween prank? Or something more sinister?

As the descendants of those buried in the church yard begin to experience bizarre “accidents,” Jillian tries to uncover the cause. Deeply empathic, she does not make friends easily, or lightly. But to fend off the terror taking over her town, she must join forces with artist Dante DeLuca, whose sensitivity to the spirit world has been both a blessing and a curse. The two soon realize Jillian’s murky family history is entwined in a tragic legacy tracing back to the founding of Hode’s Hill. In order to set matters right, an ancient wrong must be avenged…or Jillian, Dante, and everyone in town will forever be at the mercy of a vengeful spirit.

End of Day can be read as a stand alone novel or as a follow-up to book one of the Hode’s Hill series, Cusp of Night.

End of Day is available for pre-order through this link
and available to add to your Goodreads to-be-read list here.

Connect with Mae Clair at BOOKBUB and the following haunts:

Amazon | BookBub | Newsletter Sign-Up
Website & Blog | Twitter | Goodreads | All Social Media

 

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